Why Forklifts are the Right Option for Safe Lifting?

lifting equipment

Technological inheritance has replaced human interference in warehouses. With the evolution of material handling equipment, warehouse workers are free from lifting heavy loads. The most commonly used material handling equipment in warehouses is the forklifts. A Forklift is a powered industrial truck used to lift and move loads in a warehouse. Forklifts have evolved through different stages from the days where it was exclusively used for lifting loads. A wide range of forklifts is now available which varies in the lifting capacity, power source, and the specialized tasks they could perform. Since the primary purpose is to lift weights, it is necessary to understand the lifting capacity of forklifts.  

Forklift with load

Understanding the lifting capacity of forklifts

Forklifts come with different lifting capacities. It is important to choose the ideal forklift depending on the usage. With safety being a major concern, the forklift operators should be well aware of the lifting capacity of the forklift. 

Lifting capacity is the maximum weight a forklift can safely lift at a specific load center. The lifting capacity is said to be reduced if the load is not centered at the specified location. Every forklift comes with a data plate that clearly specifies the load capacity. Exceeding the lifting capacity can result in overturns and other risks.

A data plate specifies the basic information about the forklift’s capabilities. It includes important information about the fuel type, weight, and the lifting capacity of the forklift. The data plate clearly specifies the maximum capacity a forklift can safely lift at different mast angles and with an attachment. It also contains information about the model number, serial number, fuel type, attachments, mast type, back tilt, front thread, tire size, and truck weight.  It is mandatory for the forklift operator to understand the data plate before using the forklift.

The lifting capacity of a forklift can vary depending on various factors.

  1. Horizontal and vertical load center – The effect of forklifts center of gravity depends on how the load is lifted (horizontal or vertical). The weight distribution will be uneven if the load is longer, taller, and wider. An unevenly distributed load can affect the lifting capacity of the forklift.
  2. Lift, tilt, and load manipulation capability – Further movement of a load from the forklift’s center of gravity by lifting, tilting, or load manipulation can reduce the lifting capacity.
  3. Attachments – The size of the attachment fitted to the forklift can also affect the lifting capacity. The weight and thickness of the attachment can significantly lower the lifting capacity
  4. Tires types and thread width – The type of tire used and the width of the thread also plays a major role in the lifting capacity of the forklift.

 Forklifts for narrow spaces

forklift in warehouse

Because of the increasing land value, the warehouses these days are constructed in minimum areas with maximum optimizing the space available. Hence the pathways are getting narrower so as to occupy the maximum space for storage. Because of the wider structure, the commonly used material handling equipment cannot be used in such narrow spaces. Forklifts used for narrow spaces are commonly known as narrow aisle trucks. They are specially designed trucks for spaces narrower than 12feet. Narrow aisle trucks are powered by electric motors. They can work in a space width between 8 and 9 ½ feet. A wide variety of narrow aisle trucks are available in the market. 

Trucks that can work in much narrower spaces have also been developed. These are commonly known as very narrow aisle trucks. These battery-powered machines are specifically designed to operate in aisles as narrow as 2 meters. The very narrow aisle trucks can function at an extremely high speed and lift to a height of about 16 meters. Hence these are considered to be the most efficient choice for narrow spaces.  

Many safety hazards are associated with warehouse operations. The workers should take appropriate care to avoid risks. The frequently observed risks involved in warehouse operations are caused by the moving parts of machinery, loading, and unloading of goods, falling objects, exposure to hazardous substances, slips and falls, etc. A forklift is one of the hazardous material handling equipment in the warehouse. Forklifts can cause serious injuries and even deaths. Studies show that the most common reason for the fatalities caused is by the overturning of forklifts. The ultimate reason for this is the improper training of the employees.  A major percentage of such accidents can be avoided through proper employee training. Hence the warehouse management must take adequate time for training the employees about the forklifts and the safety procedures. Proper training and appropriate safety measures can ensure the worker’s safety and efficiency of forklifts.


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