Forklift Tip Over and Rollover Risks - How to Avoid Them?
The stability of a forklift depends on one primary factor: the position of its center of gravity relative to the position of its cab, forks, mast and load. Like a playground see-saw, the position of the fulcrum (the base) relative to the load on each side will control the stability or instability of the board. If the mass is centered properly, the truck, load and operator will be safely planted on the ground. If the mass isn’t centered, the truck can tip forward onto the forks, which can cause serious damage to the truck and the load. Worse, if the truck tips to the side, the operator and bystanders can suffer serious injury. Here are a few simple guidelines to avoid both possibilities.
Train operators to understand basic lift-truck physics.
The physical principles behind lift truck tipover are not always intuitive, and operators can’t always feel or sense when a truck is improperly loaded or about to tip. Even when a pending tip is obvious, there may not be many ways to recover from the process at that point. So make sure your operators understand the core concepts of stability and respect manufacturer specifications for load and operating speed.
Stop the truck before lifting.
Too often, tipping occurs because operators feel rushed to complete a task or they feel driven by deadline pressure, and they fail to stop and brake the truck properly before securing a load. Never lift a load while in motion, never stop the truck or lift while on an incline, and never travel with an elevated load.
Pedestrians should never stand or move beneath an elevated load. Even when a truck seems perfectly stable, tipover or load instability can seriously injure a person standing under the load. Of course pedestrians should also never sit or stand on the forks. Nothing should occupy the forks except a stable, undamaged, properly positioned load with the heavier items on the bottom. For most forklift models, the load should not be raised unless the center of gravity falls within about 24 inches of the mast.
Speed should be reduced while a loaded forklift navigates a turn or corner. If the load is positioned poorly or pushed too far forward of the mast, the operator can lose control of the load, the truck or both while traveling too fast around a corner.
Consider investing in safe technology.
Many modern forklift models are equipped with sensors in the truck and mast that can identify the load weight and position, and then shift the truck’s center of gravity to optimize stability. This technology is relatively new, but investing in this feature can dramatically reduce the risk of tipover, injury and product loss in your workplace.
For more on how to keep your employees safe from workplace accidents and hazards, reach out to the materials handling team at Liftow.