Forklifts are used extensively in industry, but many employers and employees are not aware of the risks involved, or do not know the correct and safe way of operating them.
The Maine OSHA has reported that there are approx 1.5 million working g forklift operators in the United States, and a recent safety magazine article highlights the dangers of not taking note of the latest federal and Maine forklift standards.
There are a few names in use for Forklifts, these include Powered Industrial Trucks, or PITs, and fork trucks. All are common in industry, as are the use of the machines. But workers and employers must take notice of the correct way to operate the forklifts and understand how some working practices can cause the machine to become unstable. One of the most common causes of fatalities and injuries among workers comes from the incorrect use of forklifts in industry.
Forklifts can be fitted with many attachments to increase their efficiency. Some of the attachments used are hoppers, rug rams, boom extensions, drum carriers, cylinder caddies, drum grippers and drum rotators. Some of these are more common in the manufacturing industry.
Any attachment has the potential to affect the stability of the forklift. This in turn has an impact on the safety rating of the vehicle. Each time an attachment is changed, or the machine is modified in any way, the operation and maintenance instruction plates (decals, or tags) and the trucks new capacity must be changed to show the changes in usage of the equipment.
Usually it is down to a forklift manufacturer to approve the changes to a truck, but some will not approve an attachment that they are not familiar with. In other cases, the employer applies to the manufacturer for approval but receives no reply. A qualified RPE (Registered Professional Engineer) may give approval. However it is not automatic, and should only be given after the RPE has conducted a safety analysis and looks at the structural and safety issues regarding the modification. In cases where the manufacturer has specifically not given approval for an attachment, the RPE must look at all the safety issues and reasons for non approval in the manufacturer’s report before they can give approval.
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