Pop Quiz: Forklift Safety

You ask us questions all the time, and while we love answering your questions, this time we’re turning the tables on you.

Here’s a pop quiz, Hot Shot, to see how well you’re paying attention.  The subject is:


Questions are here.  The answers are below.  Let’s see how well you do.

  1. Q: If you’re carrying a load on a sloped surface, which direction is the safest for the forklift to travel?
  1. Q: Before you climb on board your forklift at the beginning of your shift, what should you always do?
  1. Q: You’re moving a load and the rear wheels leave the ground. What’s the first thing you should do?
  1. Q: One of your co-workers wants a ride on the front of the vehicle, on the tines. What should you do?
  1. Q: You’re moving a load, and the vehicle starts to tip over. What’s your first move?

Give these some thought.  As we’ve established, most safety procedures are really just common sense.  Don’t over-think your answers.

Let’s see how you did.

  1. Answer: In reverse. Common sense, if you’re carrying a load and traveling down a sloped surface, that load could slide off. In this case, gravity is your friend- always move loads in reverse down a sloped surface.
  1. Answer: Complete a visual and manual pre-shift safety check. Log what you see. The pre-shift checklist can not only keep you and your co-workers safe, it can help you identify problems with the unit and keep it functioning in tip-top shape.
  1. Answer: This happens if your load is too heavy for the forklift. Immediately lower the load, and reconsider how you are moving it.  You will likely need to lighten what you are carrying.
  1. Answer: Don’t do this. Never ever. Ever.  It’s extremely dangerous and pretty dumb. Tell your co-worker to get his thrills somewhere else, but not on your watch.
  1. Answer: Your first impulse will likely be to jump out. DO NOT JUMP OUT. Stay inside, the forklift has a roll cage for a reason. You’ll have your seat belt on and fastened- grab the steering wheel and brace your feet in a wide stance. Be aware that most forklift tip-over accidents happen on inclines and at high speeds. Be smart, and be safe.

Ok, how did you do?

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A few more forklift questions answered

Some of the questions we get asked are complicated, others only require a short answer.  Here are some of the easier questions we get asked, in no particular order:

Q:What is the purpose of the lift where the operator goes up into the air?

A: That’s called an “Order Picker.” They’re different from a conventional forklift in that they have different load capacities and lift heights.  The “cockpit” where the operator is located literally travels up with the unit to load or unload larger products like furniture or large boxes- products that are normally not stored on pallets and can only be moved by hand.

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Hidden Costs of Forklifts

You’ve crunched all the numbers every which way and made your decision to purchase a fork lift.  Have you considered some of the hidden costs?

We can help.

The fact is a new forklift has a remarkably low cost of ownership- but there are situations that could end up costing you in the long run, and at the top of that list is abuse.

You have all the financial interest in the lift you have purchased, but your operators and your employees may not share the same attachment.  They may not treat the machine with the same amount of respect you would.

If that mistreatment of your forklift results in down time, that has a cost associated to it and we don’t have to tell you that’s not good.

Keep the cost of abuse down by making sure your employees understand how to operate and work around the forklift. Make sure they use it responsibly.  Forklift abuse can not only be costly, it can be dangerous. Hold employees who abuse the forklift accountable.

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The Future of the Forklift

We’ve looked back at forklift history. Now, let’s look forward to the future of the forklift.

Forklift technology has stayed consistent, but changes in materials handling have necessitated some changes along the way. New advancements in tires, in mobility, energy efficiency and safety have been the biggest advancements in forklift technology.

Next on the horizon (in fact in some facilities it’s already here) are self-driving vehicles. These units can maneuver in the trickiest environments, avoid obstacles and let employees know where they and their payload is headed.

And check out this: Doosan’s forklift of the future:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMrb0oozJWg

Imagine what that unit could do for your productivity, facility safety and staff.  You’ll note, as well, that the unit in the video still has an operator. Finding that sweet spot between technology and staffing and economics will maybe be the biggest challenge as time marches forward.

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