Things You Didn’t Know About Forklifts
To the common outside observer, forklifts seem standard and self-explanatory—they lift heavy items and help warehouse employees transport goods. However, there’s more to them than even the professionals often know. With an interesting history and even more intriguing perks to operating them, forklifts are a more diverse tool than we tend to think. So, whether used for work or teambuilding, these are a few things you didn’t know about forklifts.
War was Key in Developing the Modern Forklift
Though forklifts existed before the events of World War II, they weren’t quite honed to modern capabilities until that time. It was during the 1930s when the wooden pallet, commonly used today to transport goods, was introduced into loading and unloading practices. These pallets made it easier for forklifts to balance and transport these goods, paving the way for more efficient methods to come. Then, once the war began, forklifts further advanced through necessity. In needing to transport more goods than ever before, warehousing professionals took this opportunity to standardize the shipping process and fine-tune the forklift to keep up. These new and improved forklifts could last longer than the older models, carry more with the help of the pallets, and pack things more effectively into shipping containers.
There Are Several Kinds of Forklifts
Believe it or not, there are several different classes of forklifts that each come with unique features for specific and different jobs. Each class is designated for certain uses based on their size, maneuverability, lifting power, and how much strain they can handle before needing repairs. Because these forklifts are used for varying tasks, they can also run on different fuels. For instance, while most indoor forklifts run on electricity to maintain air quality within a facility, ones that run on gas or diesel are typically used outdoors. Many recent forklift models have also started running on propane fuel as it produces cleaner emissions for indoor use. Still, they offer just as much power as diesel or electric models.
Forklifts Aren’t Just Used in Warehouses
When we think of a forklift, we traditionally think of one used in a warehouse for packing, transporting, and inventory purposes. However, while this is their primary function, it certainly isn’t their only one. Forklifts are used for a plethora of jobs—some that make logical sense, and others that are entirely unexpected. For instance, many industrial and construction workers use this equipment to navigate rough terrain and transport materials rather than goods. Depending on the type of forklift being used, they can also support large beams as they’re being installed, clear the ground of any debris, and even load larger containment units. Keep in mind, though, that these functions are often dependent on the model of forklift and it’s specs.
Forklifts Can Have Attachments
As mentioned, a forklift’s role can be determined by its attachments. Many individuals, even some industrial workers themselves, don’t realize that a forklift has these capabilities and will use them in the same uniform way each day. However, in reality, you can customize them to best suit specific situations—depending on the accessories you have on-hand. For example, with the proper plow attachment, a forklift can help plow snow during the winter months. Other forklift attachments include nets for oddly shaped loads, clamps, and slips. These additional features make forklifts more of a necessity for daily tasks than we realize.
Only Account for One Percent of Workplace Accidents
There’s no question that forklifts can be extremely dangerous when mishandled by inexperienced operators. However, they don’t cause as many accidents as we’re led to believe. Only one percent of accidents that occur in a warehouse are caused directly by a forklift. Whether it’s from a malfunction or misuse, these incidents are surprisingly uncommon due to the extensive training involved in becoming forklift certified. It’s essential to keep in mind, however, that despite how low these chances are, forklift operators can still get injured by their forklifts. So, always stay safe by practicing standard warehouse safety protocol.
Forklifts Have Load Capacity Plates
Another thing you probably didn’t know about forklifts is that they all come with designated plates that record that particular model’s load capacity. These plates are called Data Plates. Though many operators are already familiar with their forklift’s limits, a data plate is excellent because it keeps the information accessible. Installed on every forklift where the operator can easily see it, the data plate helps operators remained informed and accommodates them with proper restrictions. Load capacity plates, aside from stating how much a forklift can carry, also contain information on the manufacturer and how to contact them if you have questions.
Forklift Rodeos are a Real Thing
Though it might sound like something a few workers did during their break, forklift rodeos have become an official event in many warehouses across the country. With highly skilled forklift operators in place, these events allow them to test their forklift prowess by performing several specific tasks. Whether it’s maneuvering around obstacles or picking up designated loads, these events are an opportunity for a team to bond and show off their skills at the same time. It’s important to note, however, that you should never put on one of these events without your superior’s knowledge. Forklift rodeos, while a fun activity to host, need to be supervised for the safety of all the workers involved. As such, there should be no unauthorized use of forklifts for this purpose.
At Toyota Material Handling Ohio, it’s our mission to supply you with the forklifts you need to perform tasks on the job correctly. We offer various types of forklifts, such as narrow aisle or hydraulic forklifts to accurately find one to meet your unique goals. Reach out to us to learn more about filling your fleet with quality and powerful equipment.
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