Discussion:
Fork height while traveling

Currently, I am dealing with a particular operator who thinks it is fine to navigate tight areas with the forks 10 feet in the air with a load. Trying to find a regulation that says you should not do that.

Our own internal and external training we have received for driving forklifts says we should not travel at more than 8 inches.

Osha states you should travel at a safe height and that height is 4 to 8 inches but doesn't actually state a regulation.

Any help would be appreciated.
  • Posted 24 Apr 2019 23:38
  • Discussion started by dan_e
  • Vermont, United States
Showing items 1 - 6 of 6 results.
The OSHA standard requires ("shall") operator training and further requires that the training includes the "Operating Instructions" (i.e. the Operator Manual that comes with the truck). I would look there first for instructions on how high to carry a load while traveling:

OSHA 1910.178(l)(3)
Training program content. Powered industrial truck operators shall receive initial training in the following topics, except in topics which the employer can demonstrate are not applicable to safe operation of the truck in the employer's workplace.
Truck-related topics:
1910.178(l)(3)(i)(A)
Operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of truck the operator will be authorized to operate;

ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 (which OSHA requires conformance to) further states:

5.3.10 Travel with load-engaging means or load low and, where possible, tilted back. Do not elevate the load except during stacking.

and

5.3.18.(c)/5.3.22(c) - Tipping forward can occur and its likelihood is increased under the following conditions, or combination of them:
(2) traveling with the load tilted forward and/or elevated

and

5.3.22.(b) - The likelihood of lateral tipover is increased under any of the following conditions, or combinations of them
(2) traveling with the load or load handling mechanism elevated
  • Posted 7 Jan 2021 23:56
  • Reply by FL_Engineer
  • New York, United States
Forklift Engineer
Are there any safety programing that will slow a standup down when the forks are fully extended? We had had two accidents, one flip over and one taking out overhead camera, These are brand new Clark lifts. Can they be slowed down with forks up?
  • Posted 5 Jan 2021 07:40
  • Reply by FanMan
  • Ohio, United States
Rick Lemaster
Another problem that can happen while driving with the forks up high is if they hit something up there, while moving, the leverage is so great that it will want to tip the machine over, especially going backwards.
  • Posted 15 May 2019 21:39
  • Reply by mrfixit
  • New York, United States
This should really be a matter of common sense.
Of course you may have to travel with an elevated load to clear an obstacle albeit at a drastically reduced speed.
Generally fork travel height varies depending who you talk too but generally under 12".
The most logical ive heard was between ankle and knee height. If someone'**** with a fork your talking a serious injury and the 2 straight bones in your lower leg are a **** site easier for a surgeon to piece back together then an ankle or knee joint and less chance of a permanent life changing injury - morbid but does make sense.
Really you should just be travelling with the forks as low as practical but we can't surround everything with a set 'number' in legislation.
  • Posted 15 May 2019 16:06
  • Reply by wiggy
  • kent, United Kingdom
The driver has been lifting the load above 2 stacked gaylords to navigate around a pole. The Gaylords in question could and should be moved to allow normal access to the area.
  • Posted 24 Apr 2019 23:53
  • Reply by dan_e
  • Vermont, United States
In some cases it is required to travel with load elevated to clear obstacles. This would be out of the normal operating standard. I have not seen a specific regulation for traveling while elevated. It should not be needed if the driver has a brain. 4 to 6 inches is in most all training information for the safe travel lift height. It sounds like this person should not be operating a lift truck.
  • Posted 24 Apr 2019 23:43
  • Reply by BREWSKI
  • Nebraska, United States

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