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When used properly self dumping forklift hopper attachments provide an excellent means of loading and sorting loose items such as gravel, rock and sand. But they can be dangerous, even deadly, when proper safety rules aren’t followed by forklift operators.
One of the most important things to check is that the self dumping forklift hopper attachment is securely attached to the forklift. Most models use a sheath that fits over the tines of the vehicle’s forks. Before using the forklift hopper attachment, operators should m ake sure that the forks are fully inserted into the hopper base between the two horizontal members and that the hopper base is in contact with the back of the forks.
Use the Safety Chain Every Time
If a safety chain is being used, it should be wrapped around a stronger member of the carriage in order to take up any excess slack. The chain should then be hooked back onto itself using the grab hook at its end, with the open part of the grab hook pointing down.
A second important safety rule is to inspect the hopper before each use and before transporting it with the forklift. Take a moment to check the latch assembly and the drum rotation components for damage or wear. If latch springs are broken, they should be replaced before the forklift hopper attachment is used.
Inspect Equipment Before Use
Similarly, check the drum and base for broken welds or other damage. These can seriously affect the structural integrity of the forklift hopper attachment and it’s better to find out ahead of time rather than dumping a heavy load into the forklift hopper attachment.
During operations, take care not to overload either the forklift hopper attachment or the forklift. Both are rated for specific maximum loads. Exceeding those ratings can result in an accident or cause damage to the vehicle or forklift hopper attachment.
Keep in mind that the weight of the loaded hopper should never exceed the load capacity of the forklift. If you are unsure of the forklift’s load capacity, it usually is printed on the vehicles side. If you still can’t find it, consult the forklift’s owner’s manual.
Remember that the maximum load includes both the weight of the load and the forklift hopper attachment itself.
Safe Operations Require Observation
Monitor the hopper during operation to make sure it is discharging freely. If material is getting hung up in the hopper, it can cause an overload that may affect the forklift’s stability. Watch for spillage or over-extension of material from the hopper.
When dumping the load, make sure there is nobody standing beneath or near the hopper rotation path so that they can’t get hit by falling material. The hopper is discharged by disengaging the safety lock then tripping the hopper release handle. Some models use a rope release.
While transporting the forklift with the forklift hopper attachment, always make sure the safety lock is secured and that the forklift is in the lowered position, allowing enough room for clearance. When the hopper is not in use, its casters should be locked so that it can’t accidentally roll away or trip.
Following forklift hopper attachment safety guidelines is the easiest way to get a long, useful life out of your product.