Forklift Safety Procedures

Forklift safety procedures: Forklifts are extremely useful workplace vehicles, as long as they are used safely and appropriately by operators who are appropriately trained and competent to use them. Forklifts can be dangerous: they account for 25% of injuries at work.

Many workplace accidents involve people being hit or run over by forklift trucks (typically when the forklift is reversing)because the driver did not see them. Owing to their size and weight, injuries resulting from forklifts are generally very serious. Accidents involving them are often caused by poor supervision and a lack of training.

Forklift safety procedures
Forklift safety procedures: Forklift truck in storage warehouse. Forklift lifting pallet with cardboard boxes.

Forklift Operating Procedures

The following forklift safety tips will help you and those you work with stay safe around forklifts.

What the law requires you own, lease, hire or borrow a vehicle for work purposes, you must make sure that it is safe for use and fit for the purpose for which it is intended. Under health and safety legislation, a vehicle is a place of work. The law requires that workplaces are maintained in a condition that is safe and without risk to safety and health.

Vehicles must be kept safe and fit for purpose and the driver must be able to get in and out of the vehicle safely. Forklifts also are classed as work equipment. Employers must make sure that drivers are familiar with the vehicle they are driving and that they have been given appropriate instruction, information andtraining to carry out required pre-checks and to use the vehicle in the correct and safe manner, as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Employers must also make sure that they have a defect reporting system in place so that when defects are found that they are rectified. Employees should never be required to operate under conditions that are unsafe or that do not comply with the law. Employers must make sure that forklifts are provided in a safe condition for use at work.

This can be achieved by having a preventative maintenance system which includes scheduled checks as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Employees have legal duties to use work equipment in a safe manner in line with procedures developed by their employers.

Forklift safety procedures
Forklift safety procedures

Forklift operation safety

Forklift safety procedures : Safe Operation

Always: Wear appropriate personal protective clothing as provided by the employer. Hard hat, protective footwear and high visibility clothing are recommended as a minimum when working around forklifts. Other equipment may be needed depending on the working environment

  • Carry out a pre-shift check of the forklift
  • ✓ Report defects immediately to supervisor
  • ✓ Make sure the work path is free of obstructions
  • ✓ Wear operator restraints, where fitted
  • ✓ Look all around before moving off
  • ✓ Look in the direction of travel
  • ✓ Travel at a speed suitable for the location and the load carried
  • ✓ Travel with the forks lowered, but clear of the ground
  • ✓ Watch out for pedestrians
  • ✓ Avoid sudden stops and violent braking
  • ✓ Take care when driving on wet, icy, slippery or loose surfaces
  • ✓ Slow down at corners, doorways, and at danger spots
  • ✓ Sound the horn several times when approaching blind corners, exits, and entrances
  • ✓ Switch off and remove the key before leaving the forklift. Place the key in a safe location when driving task is completed
  • ✓ Apply the parking brake before leaving the forklift
  • ✓ Face the forklift and use the steps and handholds when getting in or out of the vehicle. Use three points of contact.
  • ✓ Report any accidents or near misses to a supervisor
Forklift safety procedures
Forklift safety procedures: The forklift in the big warehouse.

Forklift safety signs

Forklift safety procedures: Never:

  • Operate a forklift unless you are trained, competent and authorized to do so
  • ✖ Use a forklift or equipment you know is not working properly
  • ✖ Operate controls from outside the cab, unless it is designed so you can do this
  • ✖ Stand on or near the controls to reach the load or anything outside the cab
  • ✖ Start or stop suddenly
  • ✖ Make abrupt or quick turns
  • ✖ travel on the uneven ground unless the forklift is suitable for this
  • ✖ Run over unprotected cables or flexible pipes
  • ✖ Try to carry out repairs – leave this to a qualified maintenance engineer
  • ✖ Operate a forklift when under the influence of alcohol or drugs [prescribed or illegal]
  • ✖ Use mobile phones or other hand-held devices while operating the forklift
  • ✖ Use uncertified attachments
  • ✖ Use an attachment unless a competent person, an authorized dealer, or manufacturer has derated the forklift [reduced actual capacity]
Forklift safety procedures
Forklift safety procedures: workers using forklift machine in storehouse

Forklift carrying loads

Forklift safety procedures: Always:

  • ✓ Assess the load before lifting. Check weight, size, load center and security
  • ✓ Make sure that pallets are in good condition
  • ✓ Observe floor loading limits
  • ✓ Find out the weight of the laden forklift
  • ✓ Check safe working load (SWL) of racking before placing loads onto it
  • ✓ Make sure load does not obstruct the view. If it does, drive in reverse, looking in direction of travel
  • ✓ Make sure there is adequate clearance for the forklift and load, including overhead
  • ✓ Make sure the load does not exceed the capacity of the forklift
  • ✓ Make sure the load is stable and can be safely lifted
  • ✓ Carry the load as close to the ground as possible
  • ✓ Use controls smoothly
  • ✓ Position forks properly and as widely as possible
  • ✓ Make sure the fork arms are fully inserted when traveling with a load
  • ✓ Make sure the forklift is stopped before raising the load
  • ✓ Use suitable attachments for lifting unusual or wide loads
  • ✓ Lower loads at a safe speed
  • ✓ Make sure you are properly trained, certified and authorized to operate the forklift with an attachment

Forklift safety procedures: Never.

  • ✖ Lift loads greater than the capacity of the forklift
  • ✖ Move a load that appears unsuitable or unstable (including on a damaged pallet)
  • ✖ Lift load with attachments, unless trained, certified and authorized to do so
  • ✖ Travel with a bulky load that blocks your view
  • ✖ Travel with a raised load, unless the forklift is designed specifically for this
  • ✖ Leave the vehicle with the load raised.

Forklift ramp angle

Forklift safety procedures: Operating on Slopes

Forklift safety procedures: Always.

  • ✓ Travel slowly when going down slopes
  • ✓ Ensure the forks face uphill when traveling up or down slopes with a load
  • ✓ Ensure the forks face downhill when travelling up or down slopes without a load
  • ✓ Adjust the tilt (where fitted) to suit the gradient and raise the forks to clear the ground

Forklift safety procedures: Never.

  • ✖ Turn the vehicle around on or travel across a ramp or a slope
  • ✖ Leave a forklift on a slope, except in an emergency. In case of an emergency always chock the wheels

Using a forklift to lift a person OSHA

Forklift safety procedures: Carrying People

Forklift safety procedures: Always.

✓ Use a safe work method when using working platforms, i.e integrated platform. Use of nonintegrated platforms should only be permissible in exceptional circumstances under-documented controls
✓ Remain in control of the forklift while workers are on the platform
✓ Watch out for pedestrians
✓ Use spotters when operating in congested areas

Forklift safety procedures: Never

✖ Lift a person on the forks or on a pallet, or similar, balanced on the forks
✖ Move travel or turn with a person lifted at height
✖ Carry passengers, unless the forklift is designed for this and has a designated seat and seat belt
✖ Allow people to walk under raised forks or loads
✖ Leave a truck unattended when people are using a non-integrated platform
✖ Pick up a load if someone is standing close to it

Forklift safety tips workplace

Forklift safety procedures: When you have finished working

Below are some simple tips to follow to ensure the safe operation of forklifts. Although these tips are simple and quite basic they are a good starting point to support workplace health and safety guidelines.


✓ Park the forklift in a safe place, on level ground; never on a slope
✓ Leave the forklift with the mast tilted forwards and the forks fully lowered, with the tips on the floor
✓ Apply the parking brake, select neutral, switch off the engine and remove the key
✓ Return keys or other activating devices to their place of safe-keeping
✓ Report any malfunctions or defects immediately to a supervisor

Female forklift truck driver working in distribution warehouse

Forklift safety checklist

Forklift safety procedures: Visual Checks

  • General Condition.
  • Forks.
  • Carriage Plate.
  • Mast.
  • Back Rest Extension / Load Guard.
  • Lift Chains.
  • Tyres.
  • Wheels.
  • Overhead Guard / Roll Over Protection Frame.
  • Energy Source.
  • Hydraulics.
  • Identification / Rating Plate.
  • Operator’s Compartment.
  • Access.
  • Lights, Windscreen and Mirrors (if fitted).
  • Fire Extinguisher (if fitted).

Forklift safety procedures: Working Environment

  • No evidence of leaks.
  • No obstructions (overhead or in working area).
  • Correct forklift type for the working environment.

Forklift safety procedures: Practical / Operational Checks

  • Seat.
  • Safety Belt.
  • Ignition and Electrical Systems.
  • Reversing Alarm and Horn.
  • Warning Lights and Lights (if fitted).
  • Hydraulic Controls.
  • Brakes (Foot & Parking).
  • Clutch and Gearshift.
  • Steering.
  • Exhaust.
  • Noise.

Forklift driving tips

Forklift safety procedures: If used on the Public Road

  • Forklift truck registered and number plate (front and rear) displayed, clean and legible.
  • Valid tax and insurance disc displayed.
  • Road lights (side, head, rear, stop and number plate lights) in place, clean, correct color and working correctly.

Note: Head, stop and direction indicator lights are not required if the truck cannot exceed 12 miles per hour (19 Kilometres per hour) provided that the driver is clearly visible on all sides, can give hand signals to other traffic and the vehicle is not used during lighting-up hours except in an adequately lit public place.

Thorough Examination: Thorough examination carried out every 12 months (every 6 months if used to lift persons) by a competent person and test certificate available.

Forklift safety procedures
Forklift safety procedures

Forklift safety procedures

What is Forklift safety?

The pre-operation of forklifts involves a pre-start inspection that checks the condition of the vehicle, fluid levels, tires, fork condition, forklift safety devices, finger guards, load backrest extension and more with the power off. The most important safety device on your lift truck is a properly trained operator.

What are the hazards of a forklift?

Sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries to the neck, back and arms can cause long- term health problems. Common hazards that injure forklift drivers include: continuously and/or repeatedly looking up during high stacking.

Why is forklift safety important?

A forklift is a powerful tool that allows the movement and storage of products and materials efficiently and safely, provided that the employer provides the correct equipment and properly trains its operators.

Why are forklifts dangerous?

There are many factors that explain why forklifts are dangerous: A load of a forklift is carried in the front of the vehicle, blocking the line of sight of the operator. Forklifts are frequently required to lift heavy loads to high places. Mistakes made during lifting can lead to serious injuries from falling loads.

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Solid Pneumatic Forklift Tires

Before you make your initial forklift purchase, decide whether a pneumatic or cushion tire forklift is best for you. Start by determining how the forklift will be used. Consider your capacity and any multi-use functions.

Forklift Seat Belt

Unlike cars, forklift seat belts are not meant to protect drivers from high-speed collisions. Instead, forklift seat belts are intended to protect drivers from being crushed.

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Forklift Magnet

Forklift Magnet: Whether you need to clean up inside the warehouse, or outside at the job site, forklift magnetic sweepers, with releasable magnets will make picking up metal debris a breeze.

A forklift magnetic sweeper picks up metal debris while you work.

The hanging forklift magnetic sweeper will allow you to suspend the magnetic sweeper by bar or chain and can be attached at the front or the back of the forklift. Tools releasable hanging forklift magnetic sweeper is similar and has a unique lever load release, secured by releasable magnets.

Forklift Magnet

Fork mounted magnet

Fork mount magnets are a good option when flat tires present a hazard and you are using a forklift on fairly level ground.

These magnetic sweepers pick up debris before you run over it with your forklift which is always a good thing. And because you can attach up to a 10-foot wide magnet they are ideal for keeping large outdoor gravel or dirt yards free of dangerous metal debris.

Fork mount magnetic sweepers attach easily and quickly, are available in different sweeping widths and can be purchased with an optional Quick Clean Off Sleeve accessory to make clean off quick and effortless.

Fork Mounted magnets are also great because the forklift allows you to lift the position of the magnet over a scrap bin for cleaning the magnet off.

Forklift Magnet

Forklift magnetic sweeper

Do you need a forklift magnetic sweeper?

There are over two billion pallets in the USA alone. Broken pallets lose the nails that hold them together and leave behind nails and wrapper staples that cause flat tires but can easily be cleaned up with a forklift fitted with a forklift magnet.

Forklifts also move things around, and in the process of moving things around, pieces of metal fall off trucks, pallets and the material being moved.

Forklifts are mobile in the same area and therefore capable of sweeping up the debris while carrying out normal operations at no additional labor cost

Forklift magnets pay for themselves quickly by preventing flat tires and downtime of equipment, and repair costs.

Forklift magnet attachment

Whether it be an airport, a spacious parking lot or any business where unwanted tramp metal may appear, it’s likely that you clean debris from the ground each and every day. When the debris is a sharp item such as a nail or scrap metal, the debris could cause flat tires or even worse, could put your employees, customers or visitors at a safety risk.

As such, it’s vital that businesses (especially industrial businesses) remove sharp iron objects from the ground each day with hanging magnetic sweepers. Rather than waste manpower and have multiple people work on removing sharp debris, you should instead consider a magnetic sweeper.

Forklift Magnet

Magnetic lifter

lifting magnets: for a wide range of applications using permanent, electro-permanent, battery-powered, and electromagnetic technologies.

Self-Contained Lifting Magnets are versatile, compact, easy to operate and can be used on flat and round material ranging from 0 to 11,000lbs.

Larger lifting magnets are designed for applications such as handling billets, bundles, bar stock, slabs, plates, structurals, long bar stock, rail, hot material, coils, pipe rebar, radioactive material, slag, and more. These magnets are commonly used in steel mills, scrap yards, loading docks, warehouses, foundries, shipyards, coil and pipe distributors, and other users of applicable steel products.

Forklift Magnet

Permanent lifting magnets

Permanent lifting magnets are composed of magnet materials and steel parts which build a path through which the magnetic flux goes from the magnet materials to ferromagnetic load to be lifted.

NL-B series permanent lifting magnets are assembled with high-grade Neodymium magnets and mild steel in order to get high magnetic power and compact sizes.

An NL-B permanent lifting magnet has two magnetic sources, one is in the main body and another is in the rotor. When the two magnetic sources are at the same magnetic direction the lifting magnet project magnetic flux to a ferromagnetic load underneath its poles. In contrast, when the two magnetic sources are at the opposite magnetic direction they absorb each other’s energy and no magnetic flux can go out from the lifting magnet. Meanwhile, the lifting magnet has no attraction to the load.

By turning the handle of the lifting magnet you change the magnetic direction of the magnetic source in the rotor and therefore to attract and release the load.

  • Permanent lifting magnets have some advantages as follows.
  • Permanent lifting magnets use magnet materials as the magnetic sources and don’t need any external power supply. So that they can be used in any place.
  • Permanent lifting magnets are composed of magnet materials and steel parts only, they are durable with little maintenance.
  • Permanent lifting magnets can be simply operated by hand. The operation of permanent lifting magnets is very easy.
  • The costs of the permanent lifting magnets are lowest among all types of lifting magnets.
  • But, permanent lifting magnets have some disadvantages.

What is a lifting magnet?

What is a lifting magnet?

A lifting magnet does exactly what it says: it’s an electromagnet that can pick up or lift metal objects. A lifting magnet has magnetic properties in its electrified coil and is normally attached to a crane.

Will the magnetic sweeper be mounted to the forklift permanently or will it be temporary?

If you can mount a magnet permanently on your forklift it’s going to working for you all the time at no extra labor cost, and it will also save you the time of temporary mounting and de-mounting. Fork mounted sweepers have the drawback that they don’t allow you to keep the magnet permanently mounted because you need to use the forklift. Therefore if you can make it work, rear or mid-mount forklift magnet is always better.

Will the maneuverability of our forklift be affected by the magnetic sweeper?

You need to consider the effect of any permanently mounted forklift magnet on overall forklift maneuverability at your location. Rear mount forklift magnets extend the overall length of the forklift to some degree, some are straight, some wrap around the back of the forklift better, but each can affect at least to some degree your forklift maneuverability. If you don’t have a lot of space to move your forklift around, then a mid-mount forklift magnet is going to rank higher for you. If you’ve all kinds of space, maneuverability isn’t a concern.

How well does the magnetic sweeper fit your particular forklift?

You need to consider what magnets will fit your forklift. Not every magnet fits every forklift. Some forklifts are low and can only accept some mid-mount magnets. Rear mount magnets have specific fit guidelines that need to be checked to ensure they will fit your specific forklift.

What terrain and in what conditions will you be working in?

The rougher, dirtier terrain your forklift operates in the stronger the magnet your likely going to want because the magnet will have to be set higher to avoid constantly hitting the ground. The magnet will also need to pick up debris through some dirt, therefore, you need a stronger magnet. The rougher the terrain that exists because of things like bumps and potholes, more you will want or favor a magnet that has some protection built in to the design to either deal with the abuse of hitting the ground or being able to move out of the way when it does hit the ground in order to prevent damage.

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Forklift Components

Locating the common parts of a forklift is vital to make certain that your operators are reliably using equipment as intended in a safe manner. The following list of forklift terminology will help to ensure all associates are prepared to use the equipment effectively and identify the forklift parts that require the attention of a maintenance technician.

Solid Pneumatic Forklift Tires

Before you make your initial forklift purchase, decide whether a pneumatic or cushion tire forklift is best for you. Start by determining how the forklift will be used. Consider your capacity and any multi-use functions.

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Forklift Dock Ramp

Forklift Dock Ramp: Loading docks perform a critical function in the logistics system infrastructure. They form the link between manufacturing and transportation, and between transportation and storage functions.

Since logistics is becoming more and more scrutinized in the overall effort to drive down costs, it follows that loading docks must be efficient and meet high standards.

Forklift Dock Ramp

Loading dock design

The typical loading dock for palletized goods includes a raised loading platform, a dock leveler that forms a ramp between the dock and the delivery trucks, a trailer restraint to positively lock the trailer in place during loading/unloading and forklifts or pallet jacks to move the goods in and out of the trucks.

Designing the loading dock is an integral part of the facility process design. The planning starts at the point where traffic enters the facility property from the public road and ends where the trucks leave the property.

The dock marks the beginning and the end of material flow through the facility. It integrates material handling inside the building with truck traffic outside the building. To maintain productivity, it must be as efficient as the facility it serves.

A loading dock is also a place of a potential hazard. To protect workers, design it with the same high safety standards you apply to the rest of the facility.

Forklift Dock Ramp

Typical loading dock dimensions

Locating the Loading Docks

To reduce material handling costs, locate the loading dock where it minimizes in-plant forklift traffic. It is easier to move a loaded truck to specific points around the building than it is to move the contents of that truck pallet-by-pallet inside the building.

Choose the loading dock location based on the needs of the in-plant process. Typically, loading docks are placed in one of two patterns:

  • Combined, so that shipping and receiving are together.
  • Separated, with shipping and receiving at different locations

The combined dock is a good choice for smaller plants, with little receiving or shipping. However, since it has to serve both functions, its location often increases the travel distances for in-plant traffic.

Plan for separated docks at plants where the materials enter the production line in one part of the building and the production is completed in another. This arrangement minimizes the in-plant movement of materials.

Planning On-Site Traffic Flow

The truck driver has a better view of and control of a truck when sitting on the inside of the turn. So, plan traffic flow around the facility that places the truck driver on the inside of each turn. Where the driver sits on the left side of the truck cab–in countries with right side road traffic–plan for counter-clockwise truck movement around the building.

For efficient on-site truck traffic, including the following elements in your design:

  • An entrance driveway that is large enough to handle the turning radius of the longest truck serving the site. For efficiency and safety, permit trucks to be driven forward onto plant property, rather than backed up.
  • Right angle turns onto the site that has a minimum inside radius of 26′ and a minimum outside radius of 50′.
  • One-way access roads that are at least 13′ wide and two-way roads that are at least 26′ wide.
  • Employee roadways that are separate from truck traffic.
  • Truck waiting areas adjacent to the loading docks.

Unless you design the loading docks for peak arrival traffic, the waiting area has to accommodate all waiting trucks.

Forklift Dock Ramp

Truck apron space

Designing Apron Space

The Apron Space is the space between the loading platform and the fence line or nearest obstruction.

It includes the parking area, where the truck is parked during loading, and the maneuvering area; the space needed to maneuver the truck in and out of the parking area. The minimum recommended a center distance between the dock positions is 12′.

The minimum apron space needed depends on the centerline distances between the parked trucks at the dock, the length of the trucks, and the steering geometry of the trucks. Also, if the trailers will be parked with the tractors detached, less apron space is needed.

We recommend this as the minimum. If the expected trucks are longer than that, increase the space proportionately, e.g. if the dock will handle 48-foot trailers, increase the space shown in the table by 20%. If the traffic pattern is such that the driver will make an outside turn add 50′.

If the plant floor is at grade or has a low grade, recess the truck parking area so that the trailer bed will be at about the same height as the floor.

The parking area will then slope down toward the dock. Ideally, this slope should be 6% or less.

Forklift Dock Ramp

Concrete loading dock design

If heavy loads will be handled, the slope should be no more than 3-5%. However, if space does not permit, you may increase the slope to an absolute maximum of 10%, and this will work only for light loads. Steep slopes force dock workers to load on an incline inside the truck and may cause loads to topple.

Also design drainage for recessed parking areas.

As part of this design, the area next to the building should slope slightly away from the building for 1′ to 3′ (Fig. 9). A short area is preferable because the position of the trailer’s rear axle will then have less of an effect on the height of the trailer bed at the dock.

If the truck parking area is unpaved or is paved with asphalt, provide a concrete, landing gear pad at a suitable distance in front of and parallel to the dock wall. This pad is needed to support the trailer’s landing gear when the trailer is parked without its tractor. For a standard 40′ container chassis, the landing gear is about 33′ from the back of the trailer, for a 20′ chassis the gear is about 11′. Design a pad wide enough to handle the expected variety of trailers.

It is also good practice to extend the pad all of the ways back to the loading dock. To sustain a fully loaded trailer or a partially loaded trailer with a forklift on board, design the pad to support two-point loads of 25,000 lbs. each, 6′ apart.

Forklift Dock Ramp

Loading bay ramp

Selecting the Loading Dock Configuration

Security, traffic control, safety, worker comfort, space availability, and climate help determine which dock configuration you need. Based on the relationship of the building and the trailer, the two most common dock configurations are the inside/outside dock and the open dock.

Inside loading dock

Inside/Outside Dock

This common design places the loading platform inside the building, while the trailer remains outside. With the proper door seals or shelter, the design offers excellent weather protection and security.

A common variation of the inside/outside dock is the refrigerated dock.

The inside/outside dock design sometimes requires that you set back the building wall from the edge of the dock. This is the case particularly for docks with recessed parking areas. The setback is needed to:

  • Protect the wall from being hit by trucks
  • Protect building projections, such as overhangs or signs
  • Facilitate the installation of door seals
  • Minimize the risk of injury

Allow at least an 8″ clearance between the rear of the truck and the building wall, measured at a height of 6′ above the dock platform. Also, allow at least 6″ of clearance between the top of the trailer and the building wall.

For refrigerated docks include a vestibule between the loading platform and the refrigerated area.

The vestibule creates an airlock between the outside and the refrigerated area. The airlock minimizes the inflow of warm air and humidity. A well designed refrigerated dock reduces refrigeration power consumption by 50% or more and it reduces refrigerant coil defrosting by as much as 96%, compared to an open loading dock.

Open loading dock

Open Dock

This design places both the loading platform and the trailer outside the building. Open docks are commonly used for general warehousing in temperate and warm climates. You can protect the open dock somewhat by adding a canopy over the platform and sliding curtains around the dock perimeter.

The open dock requires sufficient forklift maneuvering space between the building wall and the dock levelers.

Also, you must add concrete posts and safety chains, or other barriers, to reduce the risk of forklifts driving off the dock.

Saw-Tooth Dock

If there is insufficient space available between the dock and the nearest obstruction to truck flow, a saw tooth layout can solve the problem. This design lessens the apron space required to move the trucks into and away from the loading area.

Pier Dock

When the building lacks enough wall space for the required dock positions, or if the building and process layout do not permit placing dock positions along the building perimeter, you can design a loading dock pier.

Free Standing Dock

When there is limited space inside the building for a loading platform, you can add a free-standing do

Forklift Dock Ramp

Loading dock code requirements

Calculating the Number of Dock Positions

To calculate the number of dock positions a facility needs you to need to know the number of trucks that will be served, the average time required for loading or unloading each truck, and the timing of truck arrivals and departures.

For operations with seasonal processes, provide enough dock positions to handle peak periods–whether they are on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly cycle. When laying out dock positions, also consider providing one dock position for trash disposal.

Sometimes it is not practical to provide enough dock positions to handle peak truck traffic. In such cases, provide a truck waiting area. Truck waiting times and waiting areas can be traded off against the cost of more dock positions. When truck arrivals are numerous, fewer dock positions will mean longer waiting times and larger waiting areas.

You can estimate the number of dock positions you need for a certain truck volume by multiplying the number of trucks per hour times the turnaround time, in hours, for each truck to park, load and leave.

Loading dock fall protection

Dock Run-off Protection

It is important to provide run-off protection on unoccupied dock positions. If protection is not in place, lift trucks can inadvertently drive off the edge of the loading dock, exposing the dock worker to serious injury or death and damaging the lift truck and cargo.

Causes for dock run-off include:

  • Slippery dock conditions: rain, snow, ice, and condensation can cause slippery conditions that increase the chances of personnel and equipment sliding off the dock.
  • Backing out of a trailer: when loading/unloading a trailer, a lift truck operator frequently backs onto the adjacent dock leveler. If this dock position is vacant and the lift truck operator backs too far, the equipment and operator could go over the edge.
  • Equipment problems: mechanical problems such as brake failures, steering problems, and accelerator problems can lead to inadvertent dock run-off.
  • Wheeled carts: for years several dock equipment purchasers have installed run-off guards to keep rolling carts from dropping off the dock.

There are two types of dock run-off protection, gate barriers, and lip barriers.

What is the standard height for a loading dock?

In North America, the most common dock height is 48–52 inches (120–130 cm), though heights of up to 55 inches (140 cm) occur as well. A dock leveler bridges the gap between a truck and a warehouse to safely accommodate a forklift.

What is a recessed loading dock?

A loading dock is a recessed bay in a building, where trucks are loaded and unloaded. Commonly found at manufacturing plants, warehouses and other industrial buildings. They are the primary location of the movement of product, coming in and out of a facility.

What is a dock apron?

Loading dock apron space is the area required to maneuver and position trailers into place at the loading dock. Planning the loading dock apron space requires recognizing the amount of trailer movement and the amount of room it takes to achieve that movement.

what is a loading dock?

A loading dock or loading bay is an area of a building where goods vehicles are loaded and unloaded. They are commonly found on commercial and industrial buildings, and warehouses in particular. Loading docks may be exterior, flush with the building envelope, or fully enclosed.

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Forklift Controls levers

Forklifts are capable of maneuvering in small spaces and lifting objects into high up, hard to reach places. Although forklifts are capable of doing many jobs, they are also dangerous and must be safely operated. Because of their design, forklifts can tip over easily, and they can crush or gouge people or objects if the controls are not handled properly.

Forklift Yard Ramp

A yard ramp is a portable loading dock. It is a ramp which can be moved anywhere in shipping and receiving yard to give forklift access to a shipping container or semi-trailer at a loading dock level.

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Side Loader Forklift

Side Loader Forklift: There are various types of forklift truck today, from the three-wheel counterbalanced lift truck, the teletruck, powered pallet lift trucks, pumps trucks, reach trucks and, of course, side loaders.

A side loader forklift truck pretty much does what it says on the tin. Side loader forklifts are powerful industrial trucks which lift loads from the side, so they are well suited to carry wide or long loads. Narrow aisles which may be a problem for regular forklift trucks can be easily navigated through in a side loader.

Side Loader Forklift

Side loading forklift truck

Side loader forklift trucks may be considered safer than conventional forklift trucks because they pick loads up from the side, meaning that the driver of the forklift truck has a full view of what is in front of and behind them, whereas a regular forklift truck may sometimes have reduced visibility at the from due to large loads.

Side Loader Forklift

Forklift safety procedures

Side Loader Forklift: Safety is a priority where forklift trucks are concerned. Forklifts are often a huge help in the workplace, reducing the need for manual labor as they carry bulky and heavy loads – sometimes loads which can cause the forklift to tip over! Moreover, the load on the forklift (whether it be on the side or otherwise) can seriously reduce the driver’s visibility and this can cause accidents in the workplace.

So, it is imperative that anyone wishing to operate a forklift undergo training so that they can safely operate the vehicle. Many accidents in the workplace can be caused by those who are not properly qualified to operate such a dangerous machine; bumping into employees on the ground or moving the vehicle too fast so that it topples over. Accidents may also occur when forklifts are left unattended without first shutting off the power, setting the brakes and lowering the forks.

Side Loader Forklift

Narrow aisle side loader forklift

Side loader Forklifts are forklifts fitted with the lifting forks perpendicular to the drive direction of the forklift. By configuring the forks perpendicular to the drive direction this allows the forklift to operate in close spaced isles. Sideloader forklifts normally are capable of extending the forks with a scissor-like action to place the load on to the storage space.

Small side loader forklift

Side Loader Forklift: The lifting mechanisms are provided as hydraulic, pneumatic, electric or mechanically operated. Side-loader forklifts can be either man-up or man-down configurations. The man-up version has the advantage of locating the operator close to the load. One of the main advantages of a side-loader forklift is that storage area requirements are reduced because forklift can travel, load and unload within much narrower aisles. This is facilitated by the forklifts ability to extend and retract the lifting forks perpendicular to the forward and reverse driveline of the forklift.

Side loader forklifts are available in diesel, gas or electric power.

Warehouse forklift

It’s often said the key to an effective shipping or warehousing operation relies on knowing your options and applying the right solution for your application.

When it comes to standard pallet operations utilizing counterbalance forklift trucks on tarmac yards, the options are straightforward – diesel, LPG or electric power, mast heights and types, and a few added extras to boost safety, management information, attachments and such.

Inside the modern logistics warehouse, there are often other considerations – stacking, picking, loading bays, aisle widths, and, consequently, more exotic flavors of equipment available to choose from. Long load handling, however, presents some unique challenges.

Lumber, plastics and steel structures are rarely produced in pallet-sized chunks. Moving long loads inside or out, storing them in racking, stacking them in blocks, carrying them over rough terrain or simply getting them off a flatbed and into production areas can be difficult issues to solve.

Side Loader Forklift

Industrial side loader forklifts

Step forward the Side loader forklift; a mainstay of lumber yards, steelworks, pipe producers and hundreds of other industries around the globe. The name derives from the design, where the load is carried to the side of the truck on a deck or bed which can be tailored (specified) to suit the loads being handled. The forks of the side loader extend outwards from the center of the deck, like that of a warehouse reach truck, allowing a long load to be lifted at its middle and most stable point, then rested on the deck of the truck as it is driven.

As the load is being securely carried, in effect, sideways, it means the truck can travel through standard doorways, down narrower aisles, and across uneven ground. Moving the load is also far safer for the operator, who might otherwise have to raise a wide load, if using a forklift, to negotiate neighboring obstacles, and risking tipping the truck.

Side loader forklift have quietly gone about their business for the past 50 years. They’ve dominated European markets, where the combination of practicality, safety, and durability have made them a must-have in lumber merchants where space is at a premium or steelworks where loads can reach up to 100,000 lbs in weight.

Those types of industries have taken to the side loader with gusto, often finding a practical solution where previously there was none. Perhaps somewhat ironically, the spread of side loaders to a wider audience has recently been driven by the success of another type of equipment – the multi-directional machine.

Side Loader Forklift

Combilift Sideloader

These side loader forklift traveling trucks have their origins in the portable truck or trailer mounted piggyback forklift and provide some of the benefits of a side loader. However, in many cases, the trucks are wider, less suitable for long runs or uneven ground, have no in-built deck leveling. Such leveling keeps loads securely horizontal both fronts to back and side to side.

Sideways movement adds lateral stress to both the mast and chassis. Masts have a bespoke profile to provide greater strength, whilst the standard chassis is built to withstand major loads in all directions.

Moving in and out of standard warehouse doorways means side loaders are now used as an in-out truck. Electric side loaders provide engine-like performance and the reduction in noise and exhaust emissions means operator comfort and co-workers’ environments are drastically improved.

The popularity of the side loader is undoubtedly on the rise. Whilst it will always remain a niche product in comparison to pallet handlers, it is also true to say that there are certain businesses that have come to rely on the side loaders ability to store products in cantilever racking or block stack steel or even operate efficiently and quietly in confined built-up areas.

Side loades forklift places a great deal of importance in the longevity and reliability of its products. This too has helped side loaders become an important tool for not just lumber yards and steel mills, but for businesses of all types. Today, energy companies, fabricators, building materials merchants, garbage handlers, insulation, crane and plastic tube manufacturers, amongst a host of others, are some of the latest companies that are experiencing the art of working sideways.

Side Loader Forklift

What is a side loader forklift?

What is a side loader forklift?

A side loader does exactly what its title suggests. It loads and unloads from the side of the machine. Instead of the forks being located in front of the equipment like on a standard forklift, a side loader forks are located on its side.

What is a Combilift forklift?

The Combilift Forklifts are the world’s first IC engine-powered all-wheel-drive multi-directional forklifts. Combilift Forklifts use patented, leading-edge 4-way steering technology enabling them to travel sideways with long loads.

What is a side loader forklift?

A narrow-aisle forklift made for lifting very heavy and long items is called a side loader lift truck. They work best for load handling in steel service centers and for manufacturing where long, bulky items are a normal product.

What is the purpose of a side loader forklift?

If you’re in need of a forklift truck that is ideally suited to easily handle wide or long and heavy loads a side loader forklift is purpose-built for these types of tasks.
As their name suggests, side loaders operate by lifting loads from the side. Where regular counterbalance forklifts may become unstable, the side loader fork truck specializes in easily handling long loads such as wood and piping. They are designed to work in narrow aisles and since the load is carried on the side, the driver has a clear view of whats in front and behind them.
There are a variety of different powered fork trucks such as diesel, LPG and even propane fuelled side loader forklifts.

How does a side loader forklift work?

Sideloader fork lifts come in three different variations. The first type of side loader has a large open bay with a mast and fork carriage built to travel perpendicular to the truck as it moves. The forks are extended out to the side of the fork truck allowing it to lift up a load and then retract the load over the large open bay allowing the fork truck to set the load down onto the bay.

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Forklift Controls levers

Forklifts are capable of maneuvering in small spaces and lifting objects into high up, hard to reach places. Although forklifts are capable of doing many jobs, they are also dangerous and must be safely operated. Because of their design, forklifts can tip over easily, and they can crush or gouge people or objects if the controls are not handled properly.

Forklift Seat Belt

Unlike cars, forklift seat belts are not meant to protect drivers from high-speed collisions. Instead, forklift seat belts are intended to protect drivers from being crushed.

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Reconditioned Forklift Battery

Reconditioned Forklift Battery: In some instances, a loss of battery capacity can be caused by battery sulfation. Sulfation is a crystallization which forms a hard shell surrounding the lead plates within the battery cell, this shell prevents efficient charging and discharging of the battery. This crystallized shell can be dissolved using a special charge and discharge procedure, giving your battery a new lease of life. This type of repair is not always possible and is not a magic cure for a failing battery.

The process of the ways to restore forklift batteries is more complex as compared to a car’s lead-acid battery. But you can do it by yourself as well just like in regular batteries. However, if you feel that you need help, you can always call the professionals to do it for you.

Reconditioned Forklift Battery

Refurbished forklift batteries

What Are Used Forklift Batteries?

These batteries have usually become available after being removed from scrapped Forklift trucks or they may have been previously rented out.

Servicing a forklift battery is almost identical to servicing a regular 12-volt automotive battery. These tests should be performed monthly if you want to get the longest possible life from your very expensive electric forklift batteries.

  • You still have to be very careful not to short-circuit any tool, or your body to metal when working on these batteries as the stored voltage is very high and can cause death or severe burns and injuries.
  • Do not wear any metal rings, bracelets or any other metal objects while working on High voltage direct current batteries.
  • If you should ever ground the positive terminal to any part of the metal forklift then you will be severely injured.
  • Always wear eye and face protection and proper clothing to protect yourself from acid spills or splatter.

Forklift battery replacement

Forklift Battery Servicing & Reconditioning Manual

Never smoke or make flames or sparks near batteries and always work in a well-ventilated area with a fan blowing if possible to prevent the accumulation of explosive or toxic gases.

Place the forklift in a clear area where there is plenty of room to work and good ventilation.

Be sure the power key is off so the forklift will not move if anyone accidentally presses the accelerator.

Once you expose the battery for service the first thing you do is determining the operating voltage of the battery by counting the cell water filler caps and multiplying the number of filler caps by 2 volts.

  • 12 caps = 24 volts
  • 18 caps = 36 volts
  • 24 caps = 48 volts

The next thing to do is to take your DC voltmeter, set it for the proper voltage to match the battery voltage and measure from the + terminal to the – terminal and record this voltage.

How Does the Process Work?

The first step regardless of the forklift is to check out the overall voltage of the battery. You are hoping the volt amount reaches the amount it is listed at, although with some models you might be okay at 80%. On an older battery, it is fully possible that you will need to replace one or more batteries.

The next step involves removing the battery caps and testing each cell. This can be a little bit of work depending on the number of batteries, their age, and the particular setup of whichever forklift you are using. You also need to have the right tools and an understanding of how to use them.

Truth be told, it isn’t hard to check the condition of each cell of a forklift battery. With a DC voltmeter and a pair of metal probes, you can test each one and know what needs to be replaced and what can be reconditioned to be nearly as good as new.

Reconditioned Forklift Battery

Forklift battery maintenance

Covering Basic & Advanced Fixes

Sometimes it only takes some really basic fixes to really get new results from a seemingly dying battery.

Water levels often have a major part to play in this. Maybe you have too much or too little – and a little bit of a clean and a fix-up can make all the difference.

There are obviously more steps to this, and when you’re ready to actually start restoring these batteries, I recommend you learn exactly how to do this in a step by step plan, which my friend Tom has laid out here.

The benefits of learning how forklift battery reconditioning works are many. Not only are you saving money and being more efficient with your business, but you’re also being green by throwing away fewer batteries.

Reconditioned Forklift Battery

Forklift battery brands

industrial forklift batteries for the most popular models:

  • Barrett
  • Blue Giant
  • CAT
  • Clark
  • Crown
  • Daewoo
  • Dockstocker
  • Drexel
  • Elwell-Parker
  • Hoist
  • Hyster
  • Jungheinrich
  • Komatsu
  • Linde
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Raymond
  • Schaeff
  • Schreck
  • TCM
  • Toyota
  • Yale.

Reconditioned forklift batteries for sale

How To Recondition A Forklift Battery

The battery of a forklift is almost the same as that of a lead-acid battery of a car. However, forklift batteries are much bigger, heavier, and they are a lot harder to try to recondition. Nonetheless, it is not impossible to do so.

Forklift batteries are deep cycle batteries. This means that they can be discharged at a very low level and you won’t have any issues with them getting damaged.

There are several steps that you can do so that you can restore your forklift batteries. However, if the battery is really beaten up and you feel that you won’t be able to do it, it is best to let the experts handle the reconditioning process for you.

Industrial battery maintenance

Prepare The Battery To Be Revived: A single battery of a forklift is very heavy. It can get as heavy as a few thousand pounds. For you to remove the battery, you are going to need a forklift to help you out. To be sure, read the user’s manual of your forklift so you can see the specific instructions on how to remove as well as maintain the battery of your forklift.

When you have successfully removed the battery from the forklift, put it somewhere where there is good ventilation. Prepare the voltmeter so you can check the voltage of the battery. Compare that with the voltage on the battery’s label. When you have taken note of those number, discharge the forklift battery to 80% of the voltage that you see on the label.

Reconditioned Forklift Battery

forklift battery acid clean up

Once you have discharged the forklift battery to the right level, you can proceed to clean the terminals of the battery. To do this, put some baking soda onto the terminals as well as on top of the forklift battery. After that wet the surface with water and then brush it with a soft-bristle brush.

While the baking soda can neutralize any acid that is on the surface of the battery, you should still use protective clothing, gloves, and goggles. The acid of the battery is corrosive so you should be careful not to touch it with your bare skin. If you observe that the baking soda didn’t remove all of the dirt completely, you can put some dishwashing detergent on the battery so you can remove any grime and dirt left.

Distilled water for battery

Measuring the battery water acidity: To be able to access the water inside the battery, you need to take off the cell caps. Ideally, the battery water should have 30% sulfuric acid and then 70% distilled water.

Here, you need to use a hydrometer so you can measure the acidity of each of the battery’s cells. By measuring the acidity, you will know the amount of acid or water that you are going to have to add to the cells.

To restore the needed acid to water ratio for each of the cells, you should add water or acid to the individual cells of the battery. Remember not to use tap water because it has contaminants and minerals that can lead to your battery getting damaged.

During this particular process, it is important for you to check the concentration of the acid so that you will know the amount of acid or water that you are going to add. Each cell may need a different ratio, so you need to check them individually.

After that, put the cell caps back, and then you can connect the battery charger to the battery. Charge it for about eight hours or until it is charged completely. Check to see if the forklift battery was able to reach the required voltage. Recheck the acid to water ratio of each of the cells and then make the necessary adjustments. You can then try to charge it again

Reconditioned Forklift Battery

Forklift battery charger

You have to take note that you should discharge the forklift battery before you try to recharge it for a new cycle. This is to avoid any overcharge as it can damage the forklift battery permanently.

You may have to do this process a few times. If you have checked that the ratio of acid to water is correct, then there must be an issue with the cells themselves. Using a voltmeter, check the voltage of each cell so that you will know which of them is faulty or damaged.

To do this, put one probe of the voltmeter to the terminal and then immerse the other in the liquid. If you find any faulty cell, you may have to have them replaced or reconditioned by professionals.

Reconditioned Forklift Battery
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Battery sulfation removal

Remove The Sulfation: One of the leading causes why lead-acid batteries fail is because of sulfation. When you do not use the battery, the sulfate crystals begin to form. These crystals can then deposit on the negative plates of the battery.

How long do forklift batteries last?

How long do forklift batteries last?

Most modern forklift batteries are designed to last a minimum of 1,500 charge cycles. If a battery is under heavy use and requires daily charging, the 1,500 charge cycles would represent approximately five years of service.

Does Forklift Battery Reconditioning Actually Work?

Replacing the battery for a forklift is one of those expenses that no one wants to deal with, but it is going to come up at some point. This is true whether you have one forklift you need to keep working or an entire fleet of them. If you have the latter, then you know how expensive it can get to replace an entire group of batteries!
Reconditioning forklift batteries definitely works, however, I recommend you follow a step by step guide to do this properly.

Can Reconditioning Really Work on Forklift Batteries?

This is a question that actually comes up relatively frequently and the good news is that, yes, forklift batteries can absolutely be reconditioned and end up providing months or even years of good charge after that process. This is a common practice that not only is more efficient, but it saves a lot of money by putting off replacements and getting more out of each battery.

How often do you water forklift batteries?

Forklift batteries typically need watering about once a week when used every day. Batteries that have been in use for an extended period of time, or are reconditioned, should be checked after every five charges. If properly maintained, new batteries can be checked every ten charges for the first few years of use.

Can you overcharge a forklift battery?

It is important to note that both undercharging and overcharging a forklift battery can considerably lessen its life span. The best way to charge is having a fixed charge cycle and not interrupting the cycle.

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Forklift Seat Belt

Unlike cars, forklift seat belts are not meant to protect drivers from high-speed collisions. Instead, forklift seat belts are intended to protect drivers from being crushed.

Forklift Components

Locating the common parts of a forklift is vital to make certain that your operators are reliably using equipment as intended in a safe manner. The following list of forklift terminology will help to ensure all associates are prepared to use the equipment effectively and identify the forklift parts that require the attention of a maintenance technician.

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