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“Can” Forklift FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions | Intella Parts

FAQ - Can Forklifts?

What You Need to Know

Can a forklift drive on the road?

Yes, forklifts can drive on the road, but only if you meet several conditions. For one, just like any other driver on the road in the United States, you must have a drivers license. Next, you can only operate a forklift on the road if you have taken a forklift operating course.

In addition, keep these factors in mind:

  • You must be 17 years old to operate a forklift that’s carrying up to 3.5 tons
  • You must be 18 years old to operate a forklift that’s carrying up to 7.5 tons
  • You must be 21 years old to operate a forklift that exceeds 7.5 tons

A forklift can only be driven on a public highway if it’s taxed. The only exception to this rule is if the lift truck is driven up to or less than one mile per week and used for the sole purpose of horticulture, agriculture, or forestry.

The forklift must be adequately equipped with appropriate lighting, and it must display a number plate. If the forklift is at risk of rolling over at any point, the driver must have a seat belt on at all times. As you’re traveling on public roads, your rear lights must be visible at all times. Also, you should perform routine maintenance to ensure your forklift is capable of driving on public roads.

Can a forklift carry passengers?

Forklifts are not designed to carry passengers. Forklifts are used for carrying loads and nothing more. This is why forklifts only have a single seat.

Can a forklift be used for towing?

One question commonly asked is whether or not forklifts can be used for towing. This question is frequently asked because many forklifts come equipped with tow bars or hooks.

In a sense, tow bars and hooks are added for towing, but not for the sake of towing other vehicles. They’re usually added as a way of towing the forklift itself if it were to break down.

Can forklift forks be straightened?

The short answer is yes, but only if you know exactly what you’re doing. The problem is that once forks have been bent out of place, straightening them back into their original shape can compromise their overall integrity, meaning they may not be as strong as they once were. We highly advise seeking out a professional for the sake of safety. However, you may be better off purchasing a new set of forks depending on how badly they are bent.

Can forklift forks be welded?

If forklift forks are being welded, that implies they have likely failed on you in some capacity. While welding is an option, there is a multitude of risks to take into consideration. If the welding job is done improperly, the forks may not be as strong as they once were which could result in a workplace accident.

The safest option is to purchase a new pair of forklift forks. If you decide to weld your forks, it’s highly suggested that you consult a professional. Even with professional welding, you run the risk of utilizing weakened forks in the workplace. Keep this in mind as you’re considering welding vs. buying a new pair of forks.

Can forklift batteries explode?

Lead-acid batteries can potentially explode while charging. While lead acid-batteries are recharging, they produce hydrogen gas that can be explosive in certain concentrations. Spark-retarding vents are designed to lessen the rate of hydrogen that’s released into the air.

However, if ventilation is poor, then hydrogen may build up to levels where it can be explosive. The number one way to prevent battery explosions is by employing a ventilation system designed to provide an adequate amount of fresh air for the number of batteries currently charging.

Safety tips when charging forklift batteries (no matter what type it is):

  • Wear eye protection when working near batteries
  • Keep flames, sparks, burning cigarettes, lights, matches and other sources of ignition away from areas where forklift batteries are charging
  • Don’t break “live” circuits at the terminals of batteries

Can forklift batteries freeze?

It’s possible for forklift batteries to freeze if temperatures are cold enough. This is especially the case for lead-acid batteries because if the battery is partially discharged, the electrolytes within are capable of freezing.

Cold temperatures also reduce the reaction of the lead and acid contained within forklift batteries. Overall, this can lead to a poorer performance from your forklift battery, reduce its overall lifespan and cause problems when attempting to start the forklift.

Can forklift training schools offer certification?

As long as a training school provides training that is 100% OSHA compliant, it can offer certification when a student has completed the course successfully.

Can a forklift be driven off-road?

Only certain types of forklifts can be driven off-road. Specifically, rough terrain forklifts were designed to operate in areas where there are no solid surfaces. Although rough terrain forklifts were designed to operate in rough areas (such as wooded areas), the operator must still take great caution when handling loads where the ground is uneven as there is still a risk of the forklift tipping over.

You should only lift loads when the truck is completely stable. Therefore, the operator should properly know how to lift a load safely while also being aware of the stability of the ground conditions.

Can a forklift lift a car?

Yes, you can move a car with a forklift, but if you want to avoid damaging the vehicle you’ll need to consider the following tips:

  1. At a minimum, your forks must be at least 8 feet long. Most cars are around 7 feet wide. Extra long forklift forks will ensure you’re not rubbing against the car as you’re moving it. If the forks are too short the car may end up tumbling off the other side.
  2. Have at least a basic knowledge of car mechanics and how a vehicle is built before attempting to lift it with a forklift. Otherwise, you may end up damaging the vehicle while moving it.
  3. It’s almost always best to lift from the sides. Be careful with how you angle the forks and use blocks to reach the backing points if you deem it necessary.
  4. A standard lift won’t do the job. You’ll want something that can lift at least 12,000 pounds, but 8,000 is the lowest you should go.

Can a forklift lift a shipping container?

Yes, there are heavy duty forklifts known as container forklifts that are heavily used in depots and container yards to lift, transport and stack shipping containers. The forklift lifts the container by gripping the two corner castings on the top of the container and can lift, transport and stack containers from that point. Heavier duty container forklifts can lift as much as 90,000 lbs.

Can a forklift be used as a man lift?

Forklifts can lift employees, but only if they are completely compliant with OSHA regulations. According to OSHA’s forklift rule for construction at 29 CFR, 1926.602 work platforms can be used to lift employees but only if certain conditions are met. According to OSHA, trucks with lifting carriages or forks for lifting personnel must utilize a safety platform firmly secured to the lifting carriage or forks. Furthermore, the operator on the platform must have the ability to shut off power to the truck. Also, the operator must have adequate protection from falling objects.

Can a forklift lift another forklift?

This question doesn’t have a straightforward answer, because everyone has a different opinion on this subject. If you’re using a forklift to lift another forklift as a way of transporting the lifted vehicle from one point to another, many claim this is an acceptable practice as long as the weight doesn’t go over capacity.

Of course, you have to factor in the fact that the lifted forklift won’t have a good grip on the forks. You also have to factor in balance. If the forklift performing the lifting hits even the slightest bump, the entire load may go crashing over. There are many more factors to consider, but generally lifting a forklift with another forklift is a bad idea and a serious safety hazard. There have been countless examples of work yard accidents where workers were attempting to “cut corners” by lifting one forklift with another to accomplish a task. Worse yet, many of these incidents involved workers operating the lifted forklift, clearly violating OSHA regulations. In many of these incidents, the load would come tumbling down due to lack of balance, causing thousands of dollars of damage.

Featured Image Credit: Senior Airman Daniel Phelps

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