Preventing tipovers

Danny Maron -
Safety First
- 25 Apr 2013 ( #613 )
3 min read
Danny Maron, owner/trainer of Ideal Forklift Training in Canada's national capital, is an independent consultant, providing the education lift truck operators require, to businesses and government, to minimise the chance of incidents in the workplace. Before founding Ideal in 2000, Danny was a trainer at Canada's largest forklift dealer.
Approximately three years ago, someone posted a thread in the Safety, Legislation and Training forum asking which three topics trainers would publish in a safety manual for operators. The only commonality among all the respondents was the stability triangle.

Recently, there has been some discussion regarding the effectiveness of Toyota's SAS system in preventing forklift tipovers. I suppose the proponents of Toyota forklifts strongly agree with the reports favouring the SAS system; and the opponents have their doubts. As a trainer and not a sales person or service tech, I really am not interested in the benefits or disadvantages of any particular system. If it works, great! If not, no worries.

As a safety trainer for forklift operators, I do not rely on technology to prevent tipovers. I prefer to work with the root cause, and not have some fancy engineering to foresee and prevent potential tipovers. Hence, the stability triangle.

In order for an operator to appreciate the importance of this extremely relevant portion of any training course, I strongly recommend spending approximately an hour drilling this engineering aspect of the forklift into their heads. This one engineering principle can possibly eliminate all tipovers if operators are trained properly.

We start with movement: the driving of the forklift, and how the centre of gravity inside the stability triangle is affected by the manner in which they drive their forklifts. And we then discuss the effects of the terrain one is driving the forklift on - if it is an indoor or outdoor forklift.

Secondly, they learnhow the load affects the centre of gravity, and how much more stable the forklift truly is with a full capacity load on the forks, and much less stable when the truck is empty - and therefore more prone to tip.

Thirdly, we consider the degree of tilt and the height of the forks off the ground. At any given micro-second, since it only takes 1/10th of a second of operator error to tip the forklift, the operator must have an idea of where the centre of gravity is situated inside the stability pyramid in order to keep the truck upright.

After reviewing these basic elements, one quickly learns that the position of the centre of gravity in and around the stability triangle/pyramid will determine the operator's fate at the end of the day. Whether the operator returns home with a big, bright smile, or ends up in an ambulance or hearse, rests on the shoulders of the forklift operator, and not any sophisticated engineering system.

So my question is: Does the position of the centre of gravity in and around the stability triangle/pyramid determine the operator's fate at the end of the day? It sure does! And who determines the position of the centre of gravity inside the stability triangle/pyramid? The operator! Therefore, who controls the operator's' fate? ' And the answer, obviously, is the operator.

No-one can tip over, or prevent a tipover from occurring, except for the operator. Only the operator can tip over his/her own forklift, and only the operator can prevent this.

Does the SAS system truly work? I couldn't tell ya. All I know is that if the operators were properly trained in the centre of gravity/stability triangle, then tipovers sho
Also Read:
Storage and handling get automated
Steve Richmond
2 minute read
Storage and handling get automated Safety First - 23 May 2013 (#617) Britain's manufacturing companies are driving a trend towards greater use of automated storage and handling systems, according to Steve Richmond.
Rob Vetter
2 minute read
The Big Three of operator training Safety First - 21 Mar 2013 (#608) Rob Vetter ponders the three key questions: what, how and why.
For more unique stories and expert insights: read our industry blogs
Blog articles provide perspectives and opinions and therefore may contain inaccurate or incomplete information. Forkliftaction Media accepts no responsibility for errors or omissions. If you feel that significant facts are overlooked, or have a different viewpoint on a topic addressed, we invite you to open a conversation in our Discussion Forums.

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Inside The News
There’s a bold call in this week’s news: forklifts are redundant in the warehouse environment... Continue reading
Upcoming industry events …
August 8-10, 2024 - Guangzhou, China
September 2-6, 2024 - Johannesburg, South Africa
September 3-5, 2024 - SÃO PAULO, Brazil
Inside The News
There’s a bold call in this week’s news: forklifts are redundant in the warehouse environment... Continue reading
3D robotics maker Mytra launches South San Francisco, CA, United States

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Inside The News
There’s a bold call in this week’s news: forklifts are redundant in the warehouse environment... Continue reading
3D robotics maker Mytra launches South San Francisco, CA, United States
Upcoming in the editorial calendar
DIGITISED STOCK CONTROL AND FORKLIFTS
May 2024
PRODUCTION OF MATERIALS HANDLING EQUIPMENT IN NORTH AMERICA
Aug 2024
Upcoming industry events …
August 8-10, 2024 - Guangzhou, China
September 2-6, 2024 - Johannesburg, South Africa
September 3-5, 2024 - SÃO PAULO, Brazil