Low profile mast to improve Pedestrian Safety

I've reached my limit, and need some help. We've had another pedestrian hit by a forklift attributed to impaired vision, i.e. the mast blocking the driver's view. Thankfully the person will be fine, but it could have been a fatality.
My question for you is: Who is making a forklift or retro-fit type mast that is below the line of sight of a seated operator? I'll buy 100 of them if I can find them!
My local vendors for Linde and Hyster tell me there are none. Surely you all are dealing with this issue, are there any solutions?
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 03:27
  • Discussion started by Guido
  • Washington, United States
Showing items 31 - 43 of 43 results.
One of my customers has a counter balance with a short mast where the top mast beams are right in my line of site when I drive it, no idea why a mast that short is needed as when its fully closed its much lower then the overhead guard.
  • Posted 22 Dec 2014 00:50
  • Reply by Forkingabout
  • england, United Kingdom
Guido - be careful what you wish for here. If you have a short stubby mast that you can look over, the top of the mast will have cross braces that will become in line of sight as you lift. So rather than looking through a window of a clear view mast, an unnecessary obstruction will come into view with a short mast that could be even worse.

Have you thought about a telehandler? This removes the mast altogether and JCB who launched impressed on the forward visibility advantage. There was also a Swedish Company who made a machine with the mast behind the cab but both this and the telehandler, whilst increasing forward visibility, will bring lateral (left and right) visibility shadows!
  • Posted 21 Dec 2014 21:52
  • Reply by Misterlift
  • England, United Kingdom
employee awareness and training in their surrounding environment might be the key to help prevent lift truck / pedestrian accidents.

I've been a lift truck tech for over 30 yrs and in almost every case when a pedestrian gets hit by a lift truck the problem generally points to carelessness and just not paying attention to the surroundings in high lift truck traffic areas.

The layout of where pedestrians can travel versus where lift trucks travel should be clearly separated using barriers, safety chain fences etc. Floors marked with the proper signage etc etc.
ALL employees thoroughly trained in plant safety and all lift operators trained in plant traffic lane orientation. Also putting travel alarms on the lifts so they will sound off where ever they are in the plant so pedestrians will know where they are or can hear them coming so they can get out of the way.

Although while altering the lift's mast to achieve a better view may help greatly in one respect, it still will not ultimately prevent the problem from happening. You may achieve better results but like edward hit on.. you simply cannot 'idiot proof' a situation when there are better 'idiots' born everyday. For every action taken there is always a reaction nobody expected, this is true for everything in life.

Sure you can put new masts on the trucks and solve one problem but you create another one by limiting the ability to carry and lift loads that in some cases that you will need, so if you think about it, does this really solve the problem?

Since most masts are built during lift production by order generally the lift mfg's just don't have a stockpile of different types of masts laying around for sale, you would have to order the mast and there is a waiting period to wait for them to be built.
Sure you can have masts built custom to suit your needs but is that costly solution the answer? maybe.... then again maybe not.

workplace safety is a big issue and over the past few years i have seen it escalate to the forefront of every venue in this business greatly. The driving force behind this of course is to make sure the work environment is safe for every employee in every aspect of the job. Nobody wants to get hurt, but unfortunately the unseen reason driving this issue that takes almost as much precedence as employee physical safety, health and well being is the insurance costs every time there is an accident. But one of the biggest mistakes i have seen is the employer taking the 2nd avenue by looking at the situation at face value and not really taking a look at the real reason the problems happen. Like edward says, you can knock down the wall and that may solve one problem, but that is just one obstacle taken down out of several others and does not really solve the real issue.

So in my opinion
- retrain your lift operators
- retrain your employees (non lift operators)
- reorganize your lift traffic areas and make sure all signage, floor markings, barriers etc are in place.
- make sure all lifts and traveling machines have clearly audible travel alarms that can be heard clearly while the machine is moving.

If by chance you already have these things in place and are still having accidents, then by all means try the different masts. But then after you have (still) another accident like this go back and re-evaluate the situation and get rid of the irresponsible employee that caused the problem.
  • Posted 21 Dec 2014 01:26
  • Reply by swoop223
  • North Carolina, United States
You've been swooped!
I think I would offer that it appears to me that you are trying to 'not fix the problem, but fix something -near- the problem'.
Lots of research shows that you can not see through walls, but you can look around the wall or look through the window... removing the wall does cure the ability to see what is on the other side, as does going around the wall, or looking through the window.
in my opinion, you -need- to teach looking through the window, rather than removing all walls, [some walls are needed, they hold up the roof and windows frames, as well as block the wind and rain ;-) ].
I can offer that a standup narrow aisle truck like what is called a "counter-balanced-stand-up-end-control" will have the operator at a higher vision point, but as long as the operator refuses to correctly operate the truck, and/or is not properly trained and motivated, you will never be able to design away the mast.
As mentioned above, there is a mast we call a "trucker's mast", which is a very much lower overall height, but has a much lower overall lifting height.
The -real- answer {imho} is operator training that insists on teaching that "if your view is obstructed, you must drive with the steering wheels (not the steering hand crank, but the wheels and tires) in front".
I have always heard that, [in the forklift business anyway] "we don't try and build it 'idiot proof', since 'they' build a better idiot just the very moment you finally get it idiot proof".
  • Posted 21 Dec 2014 00:35
  • Modified 21 Dec 2014 01:42 by poster
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
Most truckers mast typically have a collapsed height in the 59" - 60" range with a max lifting height of 78" - 81" and minimum or 0" of free lift which means the inner channel will raise about 3" or have an extended height of 62" - 63" when carrying load 6" off the ground. These specs are based on trucks typically in the 4000 to 6000 lift capacity range with solid press-on tires.
I have see truckers mast designed for pneumatic tire lifts (not many) but the specs are about 2" higher that stated above.
The best thing to do is contact your local dealer for the brand of lift trucks you have in you fleet to get exact info & find out what can be done - it won't be inexpensive.
  • Posted 20 Dec 2014 23:33
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
The forklift that hit the pedestrian had that same mast on it. We want find a shorter mast that is below the driver's line of sight. Correction, not "want" but "have to".
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 07:34
  • Reply by Guido
  • Washington, United States
Have the Hyster dealer show you a V style mast (2 stage limited free lift). There is no lift cylinder in the middle, just one on each side allowing the area between the mast channels to be wide open to see better.
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 07:04
  • Reply by mrfixit
  • New York, United States
If we were in one shop, I might agree. But we cover miles in on plants and on the flight lines.
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 05:57
  • Reply by Guido
  • Washington, United States
Probably the best fit for the application for just moving pallets from one end of the plant to the other would be a riding pallet jack....pallet/rider
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 05:55
  • Reply by kevin_t
  • Pennsylvania, United States
And the right truck would be.....................?
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 04:39
  • Reply by Guido
  • Washington, United States
Sounds more like using the wrong type of truck for the application.
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 04:17
  • Reply by Forkingabout
  • england, United Kingdom
90% of what we move is lifted 6 inches above the ground and carried across the factory. Probably only 20% of our forklifts have a need to lift higher than a semi truck bed. So if I had masts that were no higher than 4 foot, but could raise a load to 5 foot, I would die happy.
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 03:40
  • Reply by Guido
  • Washington, United States
What is the maximum height that you would be lifting?....they do make a short mast,a trucking company i used to service had short masts on their forklifts,masts were only about four feet high...so they could load inside of tractor trailers without hitting rh roofs...
  • Posted 19 Dec 2014 03:34
  • Reply by kevin_t
  • Pennsylvania, United States

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