Safety Tips

It’s a desire of every forklift owner that their forklift work best to them. Hence sometimes the owner of the forklift tends to modify the forklift or any of its part or its attachment according to their needs. This act may lead to reduction in cost, handling time, fuel efficiency etc. While this may give some temporary benefit, however there is a fine line between appropriate customization and unsafe approach towards modification.

One should seek expert’s advice that has comprehensive knowledge and experience in the Industry and also has past experience of modifying the items that you desire to be changed.

Things should not be changed without expert’s advice…

1. Engine – Engines have different RMP and they vary in BHP. For instance a standard Simpson Engine for 3 ton Voltas/Godrej forklift produces 49 BHP which is ideal for that kind of forklift if you try to replace it with any other engine same would vary in RMP and BHP both which would not be suitable for your.

A. Transmission – if over powered or underpowered could be fatal

B. Hydraulic parts – Might not work efficiently if they don’t get proper oil supply and may age soon

C Engine – If not matched to the power of the transmission and Hydraulics it might seize or age up early

D Chaises – Most of the times if engine is modified it needs new foundation to be welded in the chaises this kind of defiance makes the chaises week and may develop cracks soon.

Such changes may cause serious unexpected accidents and even death.

2. Transmission – As mentioned in earlier point that if the power of the engine doesn’t matches the transmission it could seize or age early. Iif the engine has more rated power than your current transmission can handle, it could fragment from inside.

3. Fork – It has been covered in many articles that the forks are the foundation of any lift truck. Altering the forks other than removing them can create a broad array of hazards and risks, all of which can cause catastrophic consequences. Whether it be in basic or routine initiatives or heavy labour operations, forks must remain parallel and even to each other. Furthermore, they must also not be worn, fractured, or chipped as that can cause the lifting ability of the mechanism to fail. The results of which can be either injuries or damages to the transported goods, or a combination of both. It is therefore recommended to leave the forks as they are.

4. Lifting pump – A modified lifting pump may produce more or less oil pressure than the current one. If pressure is more it could lead to broken pipes, crack valves and other hydraulic parts and in many cases it cracks itself if the oil pressure is not passed in valves. In case of less oil pressure it may cause problems in lifting, tilting, steering etc in any case the consequence could be fatal.

5. Control valve and other valve – Valves in your forklifts are like horses of the machine, it is valves which handles the weight safely. Control valve requirements often differ depending on the process area, application and end user specifications. Process conditions and the range of parameters also vary widely, including pressure, temperature, controllability, cavitations risk, environmental impact, noise and more. Hence choose the valve which is advised by an expert after proper mathematical calculation.

6. Attachments – There are many types of forklift attachments like paper roll clamp, bale clamp, drum attachment, coil ramp etc. These are manufactured by specialised engineering companies who use their expertise in designing and developing attachments. Modification to it or designing our own attachment may not be safe due its strength which is determined by the grade of metal, grade of welding done on it, change in design and thickness of the metal. Etc

7.  Counterweight – Counterweights are designed and weighed according to the capacity of the forklifts, adding more weight to it to lift more weight would do the trick temporarily but would be harmful for your forklift in the long run. Similarly reducing weight from it would not lead to optimal lifting performance

8. Electric panel in electric forklifts – Electric panel is the most crucial part of electric operated forklift, changes to it would lower the performance and some time short circuit and fire.

These are some important parts which should not be modified or if modified it should only be done by an expert advice.

Forklift accidents are among the leading cause of workplace deaths worldwide. In a developing country like India per capita forklift is still very low compared to other developed countries but this trend is fast changing due to automation and fast work pace in recent years. Increased in manufacturing sectors have also given a big push in adopting modern and cost effective method in handling goods.

With increase in number of forklifts we should also give attention to its safety – this includes Training of the forklift operator which should be comprised of Instructions, practical training, and an evaluation of the operator’s performance. The employer must certify that employees complete the required training and a performance evaluation should occur once every three years after the initial certification. Refresher training should occur if equipment changes, unsafe practices are observed, or if workplace conditions changed.

Hussain Khan (Business Head)
Bharat Lifter

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