Forklifts are heavy-duty machinery used to move heavy items in both indoor and outdoor environments. If part of your responsibilities as a fleet manager is to ensure the safe delivery of the forklifts in your care wherever they are needed, then you know that you are in for an uphill task. While these workhorses are revered for their power and versatility, they could result in dire consequences if they are not properly transported.
The following tips can come in handy when it comes to ensuring the safety of forklift transportation.
Clearing the loading site
You don't want obstacles getting in your way when you are loading a forklift onto a trailer or onto the flatbed of the freight truck. Therefore, always make sure to remove unnecessary items from the loading area so you can create ample space to perform the job at hand. In addition, instruct that only the personnel directly needed for the job be present onsite. This way, you will be able to mitigate the risk of accidents occurring during the loading process.
Ensuring sufficient load restraint
Never forget that the odds of your machinery moving is higher when the freight vehicle is moving as compared to when the vehicle is stationary. Even when transported at low speeds, heavy loads such as forklifts can and do move. Therefore, regardless of whether you have used tie-downs, chains, straps, or other securing methods, make sure your load can withstand the forward and backward forces that it may be subjected to while in transit.
Ensuring proper weight distribution
It is one thing to choose a freight vehicle that has the capacity to carry the weight of the forklift you are transporting but a totally different thing to ensure that the weight of the load is correctly distributed. Incorrect weight distribution can cause the load to fall off (if not well-secured) or the hauling vehicle to turn over when negotiating a sharp corner and, in turn, cause an accident. If it is the trailer behind your freight vehicle that is overloaded, and not the vehicle itself, you can balance the excess weight by moving the load forward, for instance.
Avoiding heavy road traffic, if possible
Although you can do nothing to influence the flow of road traffic on the day of transportation, picking a day or date when less congestion is expected on the highways (e.g. during weekends or holidays when most people are not heading to the office) can go a long way in ensuring public safety and the safety of haulage.