Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

Safety Fail of the Week: Lifting a forklift with another forklift

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Safety

You may have seen a video making the rounds recently. The video was shot in Taiwan. It shows a forklift operator trying to load what looks like a large crate into the back of a truck. Then – here comes the twist! – a second forklift drives in behind it, picks up the forklift, and loads it into the truck. Then the first operator drives into the truck and places the load deeper inside.

While this may look like an ingenious way of loading into a truck, it is a major safety fail and it is important to realise this is not an acceptable way to use a forklift.

In this blog post, we will look at what these two operators did wrong, and what they could have done differently.

Safety Fails

The obvious safety fail was that they used a forklift to lift another forklift. This should never be done. What if they had miscalculated the actual weight of the forklift and load? Did they even take this into consideration in the first place? There was also the possibility of damaging the forklift or tynes. The forklift could have tipped over if it wasn’t balanced correctly on the tynes. There was even the possibility of the trailer tipping or collapsing under the weight of the forklift.

The operators are not wearing any safety gear, no seatbelts, and to top things off they are wearing shorts. The forklifts are also operating on a road but they are not roadworthy.

What could have been done differently

  • Operate the forklifts in a safe area with lots of space, and not on a road next to a pedestrian footpath
  • Use the correct equipment and facilities for the job. In this situation, they could have made use of a docking facility so that the forklift could drive straight into the container safely, or used a side-loading trailer to load as deep as they want.
  • Set up a ramp for easier access, or unload the container so that it is sitting at level ground, rather than sitting on the trailer.
  • A forklift with a reach attachment or a walkie reach stacker could have helped load a bit deeper into the trailer (although not all the way).
  • Set up a pedestrian-free zone around the loading area
  • Wear a seatbelt at all times when operating the forklift
  • Wear proper safety gear (coloured t-shirts and shorts don’t cut it)

The key takeaway from this situation is just because a forklift is designed to lift, doesn’t mean you should lift anything and everything. Always think about how best to handle the load and most importantly, have safety measures in place to protect the operators.