The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.
Fork lift truck Lateral stability - Sideways tipover
More fork lift stability accidents happen when trucks tip over in a sideways direction than when they tip forwards. The golden rule is STAY ON THE TRUCK AND DON'T JUMP!
Nowadays seatbelts are supposed to be fitted to nearly all counterbalanced trucks and operators are supposed to wear them! If a truck is fitted with a seatbelt it makes good sense to use it always.
When considering sideways or lateral stability it's useful to use a car as an analogy. Comparing a fork lift to a car we have the following:
There is no suspension to take care of the bumps on a fork lift
A truck is relatively narrow in width
A truck is relatively high compared to a car especially when the load is raised
To make sure a truck doesn't overturn, operators should observe the following rules:
- Avoid turning at excessive speed and note that it's worse when unladen!
- Do not turn with an elevated load. If the job can't be done properly, a full risk assessment should be carried out by management.
- Cross obstructions such as gullies and the like diagonally at an angle of about 45 degrees and very slowly
- Check tyres at the start of every shift. Note that a pneumatic tyre deflating can cause serious lateral stability problems.
- Do not elevate a load with full rear tilt applied.
- Watch out for potholes, rubbish on the floor and other floor obstructions
- Centralise loads
- Take care not to turn sideways on a slope
- Watch out for live loads
- Make sure that loads, sideshifts and forks are all centralised
For details of lateral stability testing click here