Forklift Masts

Picture a forklift. What part do you think of first? Probably the cab. It’s the biggest part of the forklift. Then, probably the forks.  They appear to do the bulk of the work, but the fact is the mast may be the most important part of the forklift.

The mast is the part of the forklift that moves the load up in the air using a system of pneumatic cylinders and chains that raise and lower the forks to different heights.

There are several types of masts, the right one for you depends on what you are moving around and how high the forks need to go: Two-stage, three-stage, four-stage, and five-stage.  The addition of each stage allows the forks to travel higher. Obviously, the higher the forks have to go, the larger the truck will need to be to offset the weight.  However, larger capacity trucks tend to skew towards the shorter masts because lifting a heavy load that high in the air is a bad idea. Check with your expert to determine which truck/mast combination might be best for you.

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Part 6: Forklift Driver Training

So far in my on-line training, I’ve learned a LOT about forklift safety and the Stability Triangle, which now that I think about it has a lot to do with safety as well- so it’s safe to say at this point that the on-line portion of the training is very much about not getting you or your co-workers hurt. It’s time well-spent.

The next section involves inspection and maintenance and there’s a heavy dose of common sense in here as well.

It starts the way every shift should start- with the visual inspection.  Around the tires, inside the mast, check the safety apparatus (horn, emergency brake, seat belt, reverse alarm, gauges, etc) and make sure the forklift is properly lubricated and that there is no new damage from the operator before you. There’s more, but you’ll have to take the course yourself to find out about the extras.

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Part 5: Forklift Driver Training

If you’re keeping track, when this training session started I knew next to nothing about forklifts and now that we’re entering Part Five of the on-line portion I know about the Stability Triangle and I know what types of behaviors and situations will get myself or my co-workers hurt.  All important stuff as far as I can tell.  I’m feeling ready to get on a forklift and give it a shot, but I’m not quite there yet- there’s more safety to go over.

Specifically, the standards and equipment on the forklift itself that can keep you, the people around you, and the loads themselves safe. Also, the definition of “unattended.”

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Part 4: Forklift Driver Training

After a brief bout with the math and some basic physics involving center of gravity and something called the Stability Triangle in parts 1-2 of my on-line forklift operator training, I was ready to move on to Part Four: Safe Driving; Lift vs. Carry

Parts One through Three, with the exception of the math (remember math and I don’t get along), all made perfect sense.  I felt prepared after the quizzes that end each section to move forward.

This section and the next one have some gravity to them. There’s a lot of talk about how things can go very, very wrong if proper safety procedures aren’t followed.

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