Whether you’re lifting, moving or dumping, for many businesses Forklifts are often the key to productivity—continuously being used as an effective, reliable machine in a range of settings. This article lays out a basic run-down on the various types of forklift extensions that may be useful for you or your business and how to safely operate them.
Baskets and Cages
As the name suggests, a forklift basket extension is primarily used in raising and lowering maintenance personnel on site. Like most forklift extensions, Basket and Cage extensions come in different sizes, depending on the number of persons it’s required to accommodate, and are generally made with a welded steel frame, featuring a non-slip deck surface.
When using the Basket extensions WorkSafe Queensland advises that operators adhere to these requirements:
- Work cages must be used to raise people performing short-term tasks and the cage must be securely attached to the forklift. (You may be required to register design-approved work cages. Contact your local health and safety authority for more information.)
- Work cages should only be attached to a compliant forklift, with a load capacity data plate stating the attachments that may be used.
- Ensure your traffic management plan deals with tasks involving work cages.
- Before starting work, ensure the parking brake is set, the controls are in neutral, the mast is vertical, and all controls are immobilised except lift and lower.
- Employees should be trained in the safe use of work cages including emergency procedures to ensure occupants can be rescued if an incident or breakdown occurs.
- Employees must stand on the floor of the work cage, not on a ladder or other object.
- Do not use work cages to transport people.
- The employee operating the forklift must remain at the controls at all times.
- The forklift operator should perform an initial trial lift without a person inside, to ensure the cage has a clear path.
Pallet Jack extensions are often used to assist operators in moving and organising pallets when no forklift truck is available and are available in two types Manual and Powered.
Manual Pallet Jacks
Manual pallet jacks can be commonly found in department or retail stores to assist shop employees to move otherwise heavy loads around the store. Their small size and manual features allow this type of Pallet Jack to be more efficient in retail environments than traditional forklifts.
Powered Pallet Jacks
Powered pallet jacks, on the other hand, are much larger and require electricity to move large loads for more industrial purposes and settings. Because of its sheer size and capability, powered jacks feature a dead man’s switch incase of emergency situations and require a licence to operate.
Tines and Fork Attachments
Finally, Tine or Slipper extensions are the most basic types of forklift extensions, they are the two forks that can be seen attached to most lift trucks and lift loads of various sizes.
Depending on the type of truck and weight that is desired to be lifted, there are different classes of tines that specify the width, length and load capacity of the forks. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the class the lower the weight and length of the forks are made to carry.
- CLASS I—Rated for loads up to 2000 lbs. with carriage bar spacing at 13 inches.
- CLASS II—Rated for loads up to 5,500 lbs, with carriage bar spacing at 16 inches.
- CLASS III—Rated for loads up to 10,000 lbs, with carriage bar spacing at 20 inches.
- CLASS IV—Rated for loads up to 15,500 lbs, with carriage bar spacing at 25 inches.
Furthermore, there are also various task specialised slip-on attachments available for industrial lift trucks including slippers, drum rotators and carpet poles, to name a few.
Fork Slipper tine extensions are devices that fit over a standard pair of fork tines. They are attached to temporarily lengthen fork tines, for load stabilisation purposes only.
Drum Rotator tine extensions are used to lift, raise and tilt loaded drums of various weights and sizes. Most units also feature a pull-chain loop, allowing for complete operator control.
Carpet Pole tine extensions are used when handling fabric, cable and coil products. For safety reasons, Carpet Pole’s are generally restricted to larger forklifts, due to the extended load centre created by the length of the tines.
For more information and sales of tine attachments click here.
Forklifts, while seeming easy enough to operate, also can easily become the most dangerous machine in your work environment, if not operated safely and according to regulation.
Whether you’re using pallet jacks or a Forklift with a specialised attachment WorkSafe Queensland advises that operators adhere to these basic requirements when operating any forklift:
- Only use a forklift for the purpose it was designed. Dangerous work practices include bumping pallets, pushing piles of material out of the way, moving heavy objects by using makeshift connections and attachments.
- Wear a seatbelt (if fitted).
- Obey speed limits and stop signs. Drive at speeds suitable to the road surfaces and traffic conditions.
- Wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from dust and debris when you move stored products from overhead shelving. Operating basics
- Use extra caution and avoid turning when negotiating grades, ramps and inclines.
- Slow down and sound your horn before going through a doorway; before entering or crossing a main aisle and approaching an intersection or corner (especially blind corners).
- Always travel at a safe distance behind another forklift or other vehicles.
- When moving, tines should be just below axle level or at a safe height.
- Be aware of blind spots created by the mast and other parts of the forklift. Even small parts may block out large areas of your view of the workplace.
- Don’t reach through the mast or place parts of your body outside the forklift while it’s in operation.
Now that you know your way around the variety of possibilities and uses that a forklift can offer for any business or trade, you might be interested in our article on the basics in obtaining your Forklift Operation Certificate.