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DISCUSSION FORUMS : Forkliftaction.communicate
Forum: Safety, training & legislation
Discussion:  Forklift Speed
Number of messages: 37
Page: [1] 2
Singapore, Singapore

Any reasons why most forklifts do not have speedometers?

Our safety dept would always harp on us to limit our speed to a certain speed limit in the warehouse but how would we know if there are no speedometers?

Anyway, if we reduce the speed by tinkering with the engine, does it affect the performance of the forklift (apart from its speed of course)??

Posted 3 Aug 2006 12:39 AM Reply  Report this message
REPLIES: Sort replies by
Michigan, United States

What is the speed limit imposed by your safety department?

Modified 3 Aug 2006 09:47 PM
by poster.
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Michigan, United States
Forklifts probably don't have speedometers because forklift operation depends on the load, travel conditions, and other variable factors. There is no universal safe forklift speed.

The use of a speedometer would also be more of a hazard than a safeguard as it would take the operator's  focus off the path of travel where it belongs. A lot of forklift travel is also in reverse where a dash mounted speedometer would be worthless.

Modified 3 Aug 2006 01:23 PM
by poster.
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Ontario, Canada
The intended use of a lift truck is not determined by speed.  Speed is governed by a person's experience, surrounding environment, stability triangle and the ability to efficiently and safely move loads from Point A to Point B.  SInce there are no speed limits posted in warehouses, a speedometer is not required.  No 'cops' are going to ticket you for 'speeding'.

If management finds that the 'speed' of the forklifts appear too dangerous, they can ask you to slow down, not measured by a speedometer but measured by common sense.

Battery oprated trucks can have their maximum speed governed however a competent technician would be required to perform such work.

Modified 4 Aug 2006 06:49 AM
by poster.
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Michigan, United States
The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) in Victoria, Australia stands at the world forefront in investigating the physics of forklift safety. Worksafe Victoria has published several of the university’s findings in a 20 page publication (2nd edition - February 2006) titled Forklift Safety Reducing the Risk.

The whole publication is very well done and very informative. Chapter 3, however, Speed and Braking, should be read by those concerned about forklift speed. Special attention should be given to the forklift stopping distance table presented.

Those not familiar with the metric system (like me) will have the opportunity to use the new unit converter feature recently enacted by (Thanks staff, this feature makes converting so much easier!)

To download a copy of the publication, Google: FORKLIFT SAFETY REDUCING THE RISK

Worksafe Victoria also has several other excellent publications regarding forklift safety. Some of these other publication links will also pop up under the above Google search.

Posted 8 Aug 2006 05:44 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States
Lots of the newer electrics do have speed readings and can be set up to limit speed.  I think they would be good on IC lifts as well but I have not seen any on them.  The new IC lifts are programmable and speed should not be as big an issue.   Speed is definately a problem but imposing a one speed limit such as 5mph when the operator does not know how fast they are going does little to help in my opinion.  You must find a way to quantify what a certain speed looks and feels like to get the point across (fast walk) and even that is difficult.  Playing with the engine speed can cause all types of other issues so I don't recommed that unless a dealer for that brand of lift does the work.

Posted 22 Sep 2006 02:02 AM Reply  Report this message
Victoria, Australia
The only way to control the speed of a forklift is to limit the forklift via a speed limiter device. As we all know forklift drivers seem to leave their brains at home when they hop on a forklift and comapnies cannot rely on the driver to do the right thing. In Australia there is a company that not only install a speed limiter but they install a speedo so the driver can see how fast he is going. they have a site at [url/email removed]

Posted 22 Sep 2006 08:13 AM Reply  Report this message
Wisconsin, United States
I would like to see speedometers on lift trucks. Speed limit controls are useful but tend to just have one setting (with the exception of man-up and wire guided vehicles that may have multiple settings). The reality is different areas of your facility likely have a need for different speed limits so using a limiter switch only works for the fastest area (which is still worthwhile). It would be useful to give the operators guidelines such as X mph for racked storage areas, X mph for the dock area, and X mph for the main travel aisles. Currently we sometimes try to do this, but the operator really doesn't know what his speed is so he is estimating. Speedometers would make it obvious. The biggest downside to speedometers would be that we don’t want lift truck operators staring down at the dashboard while they are driving. I see the speedometer of greater use during training when you can more precisely describe what “too fast” is.

Certainly the operators still need to use judgment based upon the specific load, traffic conditions, and other variables. So the operator may need to go slower than the limit established, but he should never go over the limit set. Essentially the same thing we do in our cars every day (well, some of us).

Modified 20 Oct 2006 02:07 AM
by poster.
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California, United States
Being a former rep for a manufacturer who has had speedometers on their electric equipment for some 15 years, it has it's pros and cons. In a warehouse invironment, if one operator has a lift that "registers" a mph more than someone else, the other operators complain. On the older IC equipment the only way to limit the travel speed is to limit the engine RPM via the air governor, This does limit the power of the unit to climb grades and limits the lift speed. It CAN even cause an overheating problem in some operations.

The best way to control the maximum speed is a system that has a VSS, vehicle speed sensor. It would have a "pickup" on the differential ring gear, transmission or torque converter. One of the units mentioned in previous posts may do this. GOOD LUCK!

Take time to do the job right the first time, or you will have to make time to do the job over

Posted 22 Oct 2006 01:12 AM Reply  Report this message
Georgia, United States
Clark Material Handling has top travel speed control option a standard price book option.  For all engine powered trucks from 3 to 15,000 lbs. Customers can select reduced maximum travel speeds in 1 MPH increments from 5 to 8 MPH.  This option does not reduce hydraulic system performance as  is the case when the governors were adjusted to reduce top engine speeds.

And most electric trucks including walke behind, today, except those with SCR controllers, top travel speeds can be lowered readily with a handset or lap top software.

"Have An Exceptional Day!"

Posted 2 Nov 2006 09:35 PM Reply  Report this message
Georgia, United States
Speed control must be taken out of the operator's decsion making process - remember these are the sme people we drive to work with every day.  They all have speed odometers and posted limits but my observations that a great numberof drivers of forklfits and auto exhibit these following traits:

1.  One of a NASCAR driver wanabee
2.  That "No Rules" bumper sticker is a real life style.

Just drive around Atlanta, GA for an hour or two.  285 is just a practice track for the wanabees of NASCAR.

"Have An Exceptional Day!"

Posted 2 Nov 2006 09:48 PM Reply  Report this message
New South Wales, Australia
With speedshield you can have different speed zones set up aswell as no go zones and invest that slows the units speed when it comes with in a set distance of a person wearing special safety vest , while still giving you full power when lifting  .It also has a number of driver checking options from brake pressure to impact register so drivers who are involved in accidents can be identified

Posted 3 Nov 2006 07:52 AM Reply  Report this message
Singapore, Singapore

sorry for not responding earlier. Have been busy.  The speed limit in my warehouse is 10km/h.  I cannot fully agree that looking at the speedometer would pose a safety hazard unless his is constantly focussing on it.  Similar to when we drive cars. And when travelling backwards with load, it is unlikely they would speed.  But we still need it, otherwise, they would say "you tell me not drive faster than 10 kmh but how would I know how fast I am driving??!"

It is not easy to just tell all the forklift drivers to slow down. How many would listen?  If only people would listen and observe safety rules, then we would not need to install safety devices like sensors etc etc..

Anyway, just saw this discussion thread, talking about speed limiting in forum.  Check under 'Lifting Machines'


Modified 20 Dec 2006 05:25 PM
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Ontario, Canada

I know that telling operators to slow down is not an effective method.  Human nature dictates that people will generally do what they want.

In the province of Ontario, Canada, smoking is now illegal in all public places.  Companies have issued severe warnings regarding smoking in the workplace.  If caught, they can be temporarily dismissed, with loss of pay, and the second time, loss of job.  And that does not include being caught by the by-law officers.

It seems to be working for the most part.  Therefore, the fear that employees, in this case forklift operators, have with the smoking in the workplace issue, the same fear must be instilled should they get caught speeding, or even not wearing their seatbelts, with the same consequences.

Unfortunately, management is more concerned about this smoking thing then they are about seatbelts, or speed.

Posted 21 Dec 2006 10:37 AM Reply  Report this message
Singapore, Singapore


Well, unfortunately, we are unable to issue a fine nor withhold pay or any monetary penalty on our staff.  I know some other companies do but not ours.  But, we would occasionally caution those who speed and disciplinary action is taken if the speeding causes accidents.  

Posted 21 Dec 2006 12:48 AM Reply  Report this message
Victoria, Australia
chewingyu, I have been around forklifts for over 23 years now and there is only one way to stop a driver from speeding and that is through a speed limiting device attached to the forklift. Check out www dot waresafety dot com dot au they have a range of speed limiters that would help your problem. We fitted them and our problem is gone.

Posted 21 Dec 2006 02:49 PM Reply  Report this message
New York, United States

i worked on a toyota sitdown 5k electric last week (5fbc) it had a spedo
mitsu fb16kt with premium dash and tr3000 cats have spedos i think the new versions do too
as far as penalties send them home after several verbal warnings without pay and mark it on their "permanent record" lol
i was at a job yesterday where a guy sped onto a truck with a powered pallet jack (rider) and when he sped out (top speed) the dock plate slipped and the machine fell between the dock and truck just enough to throw the operator 5 feet onto his head
he went to the hospital with a concusion and he was knocked out for a few minutes
i think he will slow down from now on and had he been goin slow he might have noticed the plate was on the edge of the trailer

Posted 21 Dec 2006 03:15 PM Reply  Report this message
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