OSHA and Your Forklift: What you need to know

Your forklift is an integral part of your operation, and you just can’t afford to operate it incorrectly or worse- in an unsafe manner. We’re here to help you navigate the rules and regulations when it comes to OSHA and your forklift.

There are a lot of rules and regulations from OSHA, all of them hopefully designed to keep you and your employees safe. For an exhaustive list of the regulations and training requirements, you can go to OSHA.gov, but here’s a short overview to get you started and to spur conversation in your workplace about safety and training.

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Choosing the right forklift for your facility

Workplaces are like snowflakes. From a distance, they seem very similar but each one is distinctly different. So, choosing the right forklift for your facility can be a challenge.

Maybe you have narrow aisles and wide loads- or need to store materials very high, or on the floor. Each variable has its own requirements when it comes to forklifts, and there is a forklift for each need.

Let’s start with narrow aisles, a common situation in warehouses where space is at a premium.

The first question you need to answer is “How high are we lifting our product?” This affects the center of gravity on a forklift and makes the space the lift has to work in that much more important. The amount of space combined with the lift capacity of the truck will dictate which forklift you may need.

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Choosing the right tires for your forklift

You, your forklift and its tires have a very special relationship. The forklift can’t really do its job without the tires, and the tires you select can make your job easier. However, choosing the right forklift tires isn’t as easy as taking the ones that come with the unit when you buy it. There’s much more to it than that.

For example, will your lift be working on an even, or uneven surface? Pneumatic tires have air in them, which acts as a shock absorber of sorts on uneven surfaces. Solid pneumatics lack the air cushion- they give you the same ground clearance as the air-filled pneumatics, but lack shock-absorber effect. However, solid pneumatic tire will never go flat.

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Making the Choice: Electric Forklift or Gas Forklift

It’s a big debate these days. Finding alternatives for fossil fuels that can match the performance and economics while keeping the future of the planet in mind, and it’s something you’re in a position to ask if you or your company is in the market for a forklift. Electric vs. gas?

The biggest advantage an electric forklift has over a gasoline-powered machine is right there on your bottom line. Cost of ownership.

Electric forklifts have no oil changes, spark plugs, belts fuel lines… fewer parts that need regular maintenance or servicing. (That is not to say they are maintenance and service-free, more on that later.) Your fuel cost is paid upfront in the cost of the battery (a typical battery will last 5-7 years if properly maintained.)

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