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Tuesday, 6 Sep 2005 ( #225 )
Cargo Chat
Cargo Chat is a discussion forum on cargo handling, safety and health, and related matters of interest, for News readers. It is specially prepared for News by ICHCA International, a representative organisation of international cargo-handling interests. The column is based on ICHCA’s bimonthly e-newsletter and International Safety Panel activities.

Safe working with forklifts - Part 2

Following a question News received, this week’s Cargo Chat is about load testing. All lifting appliances and almost all lifting gear have to be tested before being sold and used for the first time. Some are also required to be tested regularly – depending on international standards and national laws.  

Lifting appliances on ships used for cargo, for example, have to be tested every five years. Virtually all such items are required to undergo a thorough examination after the test and at regular intervals thereafter and all such items should be visually inspected before being used.

Most testing consists of a proof-load test. The values are specified by international standards and are determined by applicable safety factors and a safe working load. Manufacturers conduct tests on new equipment and then certify that both the tests and the thorough examination have been conducted, so the new item is safe to use.

Forklifts are both lifting appliances and transporters and the two key tests are, lifting ability (with built-in safety factors) and stability. In my experience, forklift testing is conducted on a tilting table or, if the truck is too big, by calculation.

Test weights are used for testing other lifting items, especially ships’ gear. There could be several other forklift tests. Capacities at various heights and outreach, stability relating to offset loads and travelling with the load in the air so the driver can see forward underneath the load are all specified in standards. The latter must never be assumed. Unless a manufacturer confirms that a truck can travel with the load in the air, assume it cannot. Hence, most forklifts carry loads by reversing or by moving forward short distances with a signaller guiding the way, for example when, carrying a freight container. If there is a need to carry containers for some distance and it is inefficient to do so in reverse, forklifts used for that purpose must be specified for the purpose and certified by the manufacturer.

The inquiry was about the use of load cells. They may be used now and any reader who is interested should contact Kalmar Industries, which is the administrator for the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA), based in Stockholm, for more information.  

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Contact ICHCA International:
Suite 2, 85 Western Road, Romford, Essex, RM1 3LS, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1708 735295 Fax: +44 (0) 1708 735225

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