Forklift History

You know your forklift as an integral part of your facility, performing tasks and keeping products and materials moving.  You probably don’t give your forklifts a second thought beyond operating them safely (of course) and keeping your business moving forward.

But the forklift actually has a rich history and played a large role in the American industrial revolution.

The origin of forklift technology dates back to 1906 when the Pennsylvania Railroad implemented a battery-operated platform luggage mover.

When WWI broke out, many men were called to serve their country, and left their jobs in factories and warehouses to do so. These men had to be replaced and a handful of companies recognized the opportunity and began developing lift trucks.

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Preventing Forklift Accidents

Not to be a downer, but the numbers are alarming.  According to OSHA, forklift accidents are responsible for 100 deaths a year.  Nearly 35,000 workers are seriously injured, and nearly 62,000 minor injuries take place in and around forklifts.

That’s just under 100,000 accidents involving one of the most frequently used pieces of equipment in the workplace.

The most alarming thing- most of these accidents can be prevented, either with training, regular maintenance and a healthy dash of good old fashioned common sense.

It starts with the operator. Never handle a load if you’re not sure the lift is up to the task.  A worker in China was killed last year when she tried to pull down a forklift that had tipped under a load it was too small to handle. Your operator should know exactly what his/her lift can manage.

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New forklifts – buy or lease?

You may decide buying a forklift outright doesn’t fit into your plans, or your finances.  That’s ok- you have other options- specifically two lease plans and even a Rent-to-Own option.

These are structured much like the plans you might find if you’re leasing a car for your family.

An FMV lease carries a lower monthly payment that keeps operational expenses down during the term of the lease (typically 12-72 months).  At the end of the lease you have the option to return the forklift, or purchase it at Fair Market Value (FMV) for right around 30% of the original sale price.

Then there is a thing called a “$1 Lease.”  Higher monthly payments but a $1 buyout at the end and you own the machine.

Rent to Own options include a previously agreed-upon monthly payment that goes towards purchase of the forklift. These are less common due to the higher monthly payments.

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