What You Need To Know About Forklift Extensions

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Forklift extensions are a specific type of forklift accessory that can help improve the reach, load-bearing potential, and versatility of most of your lift trucks.

We get a lot of questions from new Indiana forklift users about these types of fork extensions. Let’s answer some of the most common ones today.

Are Forklift Extensions Legal?

The question over whether OSHA allows forklift extensions can be confusing, because it’s changed over time. Some years ago, OSHA was very strict on forklift extensions, requiring written permission directly from the forklift manufacturer before extensions could be installed on any lift truck. With all that red tape, it wasn’t feasible for a lot of companies to use them.

Thankfully, they’re much easier to use legally now, and only require the approval of a certified forklift engineer. That said, there are still some rules and regulations to follow.

What Are OSHA Regulations for Forklift Extensions?

For the most part, forklift extensions are treated much like other forklift extensions such as clamps. Here are a few of the big points to keep in mind:

  • Forklift extensions can be no longer than 1.5 times the length of the fork itself.
  • Like any other attachment, a forklift with extensions is treated as “partially loaded” even when not carrying a load.
  • A forklift outfitted with extensions is treated as an entirely different forklift, so all operators need to be trained on the forklift again. The lift must be newly labeled with its load weight and attachment combination at max elevation.
  • Each extension needs to be clearly labeled with manufacturer information, as well as individual rated load capacity, and identifying features such as year of manufacturing and serial number.

Keep in mind that this is by no means an extensive list of regulations for fork extensions, but rather just some of the most important to know. For a full list of rules and regulations set by OSHA regarding extensions, find the contact information for your regional OSHA office here.

How Should Forklift Extensions Be Used?

As we mentioned above, equipping a forklift with fork extensions requires all operators to be retrained on the lift truck. That training should go over the following facts, in addition to day to day usage:

  • The addition of the forklift extensions will change the overall load capacity of the forklift. Do not overload the forklift past its new max capacity.
  • Do not attempt to pick up orders or loads using the tips of the forklift extensions. Doing so can run the risk of the entire forklift tipping over, or damage to the fork and the extensions.
  • Don’t be fooled by the length of the extension – fork extensions are made to help lift bulkier loads, but not necessarily heavier ones. Learn how the load center might have changed, and adjust how you rack orders appropriately.
  • Like other attachments, fork extensions should be inspected regularly (usually semi-annually) for wear, tear and any repairs that need to be made.

Find Out More About Forklift Extensions

For more details on forklift extensions for your workplace, or to schedule forklift operator training for any new attachments to your fleet, turn to Tynan. We have 4 convenient locations throughout the state of Indiana to best serve your team. Call us at 317-597-4003 for more details.

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