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But thanks to the Materials Handling Equipment Distributors Association, here are six facts about forklifts that you may not have known:
1. Every Forklift Has a Load Capacity Plate — It’s critical that operators know the maximum capacity of the vehicle they are driving. That’s why every forklift is required to have a name plate or load capacity data plate attached to it. This plate must be somewhere that it can easily be seen by and is in clear view of the operator.
While most common forklift can carry between one and five tons of payload weight, heavy duty vehicles can lift up to 50 tons. The load capacity plate tells you the specific maximum load for which your particular vehicle is rated. Look for it near the dashboard or on the mast facing the driver.
If you are unable to locate the load capacity plate on your forklift or it doesn’t have one, contact the original manufacturer or the company from which you purchased or leased the forklift so that one can be installed. Without it, the forklift is not in legal compliance.
2. Forklifts Account for only 1% of Workplace Accidents — While it seems like we are always hearing about forklift accidents, only a small percentage of accidents that occur in factories and warehouses actually involve forklifts. But the injuries caused by forklift accidents account for about 10% of all workplace injuries.
You can minimize the number of forklift accidents in your workplace by adhering to all required safety protocols, including the maximum allowable speed for a forklift truck: 8 mph in areas where there are no pedestrians and less than 3 mph where pedestrians are present.
3. You Can Extend a Forklift’s Usefulness with Attachments — Forklifts aren’t just for lifting and moving pallets. When they are fitted with specialized attachments, they can be used for a wider variety of jobs.
Common attachments for forklifts include sideshifters, rotators, pole attachments, roll and barrel clamps, drum handler attachments, slip sheet attachments, scales, personnel baskets, lift platforms and telescopic forks.
4. Forklifts Come in All Shapes and Sizes — The standard forklift may have four wheels two forks and a lifting mast, but that’s not the only type of forklift that currently is being used in warehouses and factories worldwide.
Other types of forklifts include three-wheel counterbalance lift trucks, reach trucks, counterbalance lift trucks, teletrucks, pump trucks or hand pallet lift trucks, sideloaders, and powered pallet lift trucks.
5. Forklifts Have Many Different Power Sources — Forklifts that are used indoors in warehouses and factories usually are either battery-powered or use propane for fuel. This is because of the low amount of emissions these two power supplies create.
But there are also forklifts that are powered by diesel fuel, gasoline and lithium ion batteries. All-terrain forklifts usually use either diesel or gasoline, for example.
6. Forklifts Have Been Around Since the Early 20th Century — While the modern forklift as we know it didn’t take shape until about the 1960s, the earliest electric-powered lift trucks were first used in 1906. Their popularity expanded during World War I, when the lack of manpower required a more efficient way to move materials from one location to another.