Unless you’ve communicated a specific forklift travel speed to the dealer, equipment comes from the manufacturer to your facility at a preset speed based on its model; however, the preset speed may not match your production or safety goals.
To learn the most common reasons for speed adjustments, we spoke to Casey Oliver and Scott Dillon, ProLift Customer Service Specialists.
Both Casey and Scott agree most customer requests are to slow down the unit. “Generally the discussion to decrease speed is a result of an accident at their facility or nearby company,” states Scott. “Most units in operation do not have a speed control feature so the dealer is called to make the adjustment.”
Casey shares, “On average most companies decrease their speed to 5 mph, especially when pedestrians and forklifts work in the same area.” But Casey confirms it’s a trial and error scenario. Lowering the speed slows down production, a factor that must be considered when setting daily output goals. “You should also consider how the change will affect your forklift operators,” warns Scott. “If they work outside, a decreased speed will keep them in the elements longer.”
Forklift Safety: More Than Forklift Travel Speed
While speed can be a factor in a forklift accident, other reasons often play a bigger role in the incident. For Casey that hazard is visibility. “Pedestrians and operators struggle to see each other. Sometimes visibility is affected by racking; other times a pedestrian is standing to close to the equipment or in the operator’s blind spot,” says Casey. Scott adds, “I like to understand the forklift operators better. It’s helpful to learn their production directives, current and previous problems with the truck and if they’ve received proper forklift training.”
When an accident occurs it encourages a discussion about safety items that are available. “In addition to speed limits, my customers install pedestrian lights, make safety vests a requirement or build awareness by hanging safety posters,” says Casey.
Forklift Speed Controls
If you want to manage forklift speed, you do have options. Speed control kits can be installed to allow adjustments on-site, without the assistance of a dealer. Impact managers are another option. This tool measures the hit, its impact, time and day. Plus alarms are activated and the unit becomes inoperable until a supervisor enters a code into the device.
Speed control tools may also manage an operator’s profile, requiring an access code that outlines which forklifts he is authorized to operate. The system recognizes programmed barriers as well, increasing or decreasing the speed of the forklift based on its location.
Consider the role forklift speed plays at your facility – for both production and operator safety. Making time to research your facility for hazards and reviewing reasons for previous accidents will help form the action steps necessary for improvement.
Want to discuss speed control and other safety items? Shop our online safety catalog or contact ProLift today to speak to an equipment specialist!Contact Equipment Specialist