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Using forklift attachments can improve the efficiency of your operation, but it also can be dangerous if the wrong attachment is used, an attachment is used improperly, or an attachment is not properly installed.
Like forklifts themselves, forklift attachments are often heavy, dangerous pieces of machinery, They can cause injury to the operator or other people if they aren’t used correctly. They also can cause damage to the forklift, change the forklift’s lift capacity, and alter the vehicle’s center of gravity, possibly causing it to become off-balance.
Forklift Attachment Safety Tips
According to an industrial safety board white paper, forklift attachment safety practices should include:
- Always making sure attachments like sig shift devices, jibs and extension forks have rated capabilities and include information on their safe use.
- Consulting the vehicle’s manufacturer’s manual to make sure the attachment you want to use is safe to be used on that particular vehicle model.
- Restricting operating controls and de-rating the forklifts capacity if necessary.
- Ensuring that the attachment is properly installed and secured. If a load is suspended, it may be necessary to reduce the lift capacity.
- Only using the attachments for authorized tasks.
- Reviewing the instructions that came with the attachment with the operator to make sure he or she thoroughly understands them.
- Only using attachments that have been designed and matched to the model of forklift you are using.
- Ensuring that operators have all the proper training, instruction and information on the attachment’s operation and supervising the job action to ensure the safest possible use of the attachment.
Forklift Safety Retraining Required
A forklift with an attachment is an entirely different type of machinery than the forklift by itself, so retraining and certifying forklift operators on using the vehicle with the attachment is installed is very important. Failure to provide adequate training could result in an accident.
Even if training has been given, if there is no record of that training — such as a certification in the employee’s file — the company could be liable for fines and damages, especially if an injury has occurred.
Supervisors also should be familiar with the proper use of the attachment, even if they are not going to be operating the vehicle or using the attachment personally.
Most attachments come with materials supplied by the manufacturer on the proper, installation, use, cleaning and maintenance of the attachment. In many case, these may be provided as a CD-ROM or easily downloaded from the manufacturer’s website so that they can be viewed on a laptop or tablet at the work site itself.
ForkliftAccessories carries a wide variety of attachments that can be used to improve operational efficiency, but they should only be used in the safest possible manner.