Safe operation of forklifts during material handling is necessary, not only for the safety of the operator and the crew but also for the successful completion of the task. Even though competition is fierce in the industry of material handling and movement, yet no manager or operator can neglect the safe operation of a forklift. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimate that there are over 100,000 serious and non-serious injuries every year by forklifts. Considering there are around 855,000 forklifts in the United States alone, this makes the accident ratio almost one in nine.
The most common cause of forklift-related injuries is the forklift tipping over. Though some forklifts guard against tipping over better than others, such as Moffett truck mounted forklifts, yet if the operator is not properly aware of all the causes of forklift tip over it will not matter how stable the forklift is.
Unsafe usage and exceeding the recommended limits can cause serious injuries and even fatalities where forklift operation is involved, that is why we shall discuss the most common causes for forward and sideways forklift tip over so that you may help avoid and minimize forklift-related injuries.
Why Do Forklifts Tip Over?
Before we discuss the causes of forklift tip over’s, it is important to understand the phenomenon that takes place behind it. The center of gravity is very important while lifting loads with a forklift. Usually, the center of gravity of a forklift rests in the “Triangle of Stability,” which can be traced by an imaginary line running from the front wheels of the forklift to the center point between the back wheels.
As long as the center of gravity rests in this triangle, the forklift cannot tip over. However, when the load is lifted, it moves the combined center of gravity for both the load and the forklift. If the load is too heavy then the combined center of gravity will move outside the triangle of stability, causing the forklift to tip over.
This is why Moffett forklifts are used widely due to their hydraulic stabilizers that keep the combined center of gravity in the triangle of stability and prevent tip over. Yet, faulty Moffett forklifts may cause more harm than good and that is why it is essential to purchase them from a trusted and well-known retailer like Moffett Truck who can ensure that the Moffett forklift will provide maximum safety and stability to the driver.
Causes of Sideways Tip Over
Now that we know the underlying phenomenon in the tipping over of the forklift, let us take a look at what causes the forklift to tip over. There are essentially two ways a forklift can tip over i.e. forwards and sideways. The most common causes for sideways forklift tip over are:
- Taking a turn too fast in a forklift. This relates to exceeding the safe limitations recommended in the usage of a forklift. If a turn is taken too quickly, with or without a load, it leads to the center of gravity moving beyond the triangle of stability and causing the forklift to tip over.
- Turning with a load while the mast is raised. Generally, the lower the load is, the more stable the forklift is. But if the mast is raised while the load is on it, it reduces stability because the weight distribution is uneven. Taking a turn, in this case, will lead to a sideways tip over.
- Turning the forklift on an incline. If turning the forklift wasn’t dangerous enough on its own, inclines to reduce the stability to a large extent due to the steep gradient.
Causes of Forward Tip Over
The causes of forward tip over include:
- Carrying a load that is too heavy for the load lifting capacity of the forklift. In a conventional forklift, if the load is heavier than the counterbalance than the forklift tips over. However, Moffett piggyback forklifts have hydraulic stabilizers to provide extra stability yet lifting a weight too heavy for the forklift’s capacity will cause it to tip over forwards.
- Accelerating while descending an incline with a heavy load may cause the forklift to flip over forward since the speed of the forklift, the gradient of the slope and the weight of the load may move the center of gravity out of the triangle of stability.
- If the forklift collides with an overhead obstacle or object, then the momentum and the weight of the forklift may cause it to tip over forwards.
These were just some of the causes of forklift tip over and if an operator is to use a forklift safely then it is essential for him to be well aware of all potential causes.