Electric Counterbalance Forklift traeling on Ramp

Please feel free to share your concerns.
Forklift travel with loads shall be forks face uphill, regarding the direction of travel. - Agree.
When travel without load, we practice forks face direction on uphill and downhill.
Deviate from OSHA recommended practices of reversing uphill without load.
My though was the more visibilities the operator can see while travel without load on uphill, the more safer judgment he can execute.
  • Posted 26 Oct 2018 01:08
  • Discussion started by Louis_Tang
  • Singapore, Singapore
Leading the way to an incident free workplace
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You are most welcome, if I can offer any further advice please just ask.
  • Posted 30 Oct 2018 07:24
  • Reply by FLTS
  • United Kingdom
Thank FLTS, ready appreciate your advise and support.
  • Posted 29 Oct 2018 23:20
  • Reply by Louis_Tang
  • Singapore, Singapore
Yes if you are deviating from the industry recognised standard operating procedure for this element of your operation, then you should risk assess and document this.

It depends on the angle of the slope and other factors too, if it is only a gradual slope with good adhesion for example, this will reduce the risk factor considerably.

Just to add my background Louis, I am a qualified forklift truck instructor since 1996.

Standard procedure is that loaded forks should face uphill, and empty forks should face downhill, but there are exceptions to this rule, one example is when loading or unloading vehicles usong a ramp, where there is insufficient space to turn the forklift truck within the vehicle.
  • Posted 29 Oct 2018 19:14
  • Modified 29 Oct 2018 19:26 by poster
  • Reply by FLTS
  • United Kingdom
I also have check with local training center, their comment is to follow OSHA standard,
My operation team is operating 1.6T electric counterbalance forklift with standard duplex mast, closed mast height of 2.1m. Travel speed set to 7km/hr. The mast thickness does not obstruct much of the driver visibilities. The theory part only mention travel with load on ramp, but did not mention travel without load.

Is it compliance that I conduct an risk assessment to evaluate this process and document it?
  • Posted 29 Oct 2018 11:49
  • Reply by Louis_Tang
  • Singapore, Singapore
As above, empty forks should face down the slope, this puts the heaviest part of the truck behind the braking wheels when travelling down.

Reversing down a slope and braking in an emergency would cause a similar effect to performing an emergency stop using the parking brake in a car, the wheels will lock and the counterweight will drag the locked wheels down the slope, this will lead to a longer stopping distance and more importantly could cause the truck to slide sideways on the slope, and overturn when it meets the level ground at the bottom!!

Travelling uphill with forks leading can also lead to wheel-spin and loss of control, visibility should not be a problem when reversing, there are no blind spots caused by the mast uprights when reversing so visibility is actually better if the operator turns in the seat and looks in the direction of travel as per their training.

Hope this helps
  • Posted 27 Oct 2018 07:42
  • Modified 27 Oct 2018 07:47 by poster
  • Reply by FLTS
  • United Kingdom
There are reasons for the OSHA recommendations. Primarily safety. The reason for traveling fork downgrade when empty is to maintain weight on the drive axle which is the only axle with brakes. If you travel with forks upgrade when empty you could loose traction in an emergency stop.
  • Posted 26 Oct 2018 04:59
  • Reply by BREWSKI
  • Nebraska, United States

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