Powered industrial trucks often use various attachments
in place of traditional forks. These attachments increase the versatility of the
truck, but can present important safety considerations, including stability,
capacity, and visibility.
Figure 1. Carton clamp carrying cotton bales.
Some common attachments are:
Figure 2. Slipsheet attachment eliminates need for pallets.
Figure 3. Side-shifter controls enable the forks to be moved right and left.
Figure 4. Forklift equipped with a barrel clamp attachment.
5. Reach stacker used in marine terminals and longshoring.
Figure 6. Data plate for an attachment (sideshifter).
Operators must be trained in the proper use of
attachments because they alter the performance of the forklift. Attachments
affect the truck's performance by changing its center of gravity, visibility,
- Slipsheet attachments which
avoid the use of pallets. (Figure 2)
- Sideshifters shift the forks right and left. (Figure 3)
- Container handlers designed to lift shipping containers.
- Carton clamps equipped with a pressure valve to squeeze the load.
- Cotton or pulp bale clamps that grab and hold bales.
- Paper roll handlers.
- Barrel clamps. (Figure 4)
- Rotators that grab and rotate the load.
- Extending or telescoping forks such as in reach and turret trucks. (Figure
- Personnel platforms specially designed for lifting personnel.
- Overloading. The weight of the attachment reduces the lifting capacity of
- Tipover and falling loads. The attachment increases the load center by moving
the load further away from the balance or fulcrum point.
- Train operators in the fork and attachment adaptation, operation, and use limitations.
- Retrain an operator if a new attachment is added to the forklift. Consult
the operator's manual for instructions on how to use the new equipment.
- Do not exceed the rated capacity of the forklift/attachment combination.
- Know the mechanical limitations of your forklift.
- Change capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals when a forklift truck is equipped with an
- Treat an unloaded forklift with an attachment as partially loaded. [29
- Include attachments in a scheduled maintenance and inspection program. Tailor inspection steps to the attachment.
- Examine load-bearing components for deformation.
- Examine load-bearing welds for cracks.
- Inspect mechanical and hydraulic components and maintain in accordance with
the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If the truck is equipped with front-end attachments other than factory
installed attachments, request the truck be marked to identify the attachments
and show the approximate weight of the truck and attachment combination at
maximum elevation with load laterally centered. [29
- Modifications or additions that affect capacity or safe operation shall not be performed without prior written approval from the
forklift truck manufacturer. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals shall be changed
If no response or a negative response is received from the manufacturer, written
approval of the modification/addition from a qualified registered professional
engineer is acceptable. A qualified registered professional engineer must
perform a safety analysis and address any safety or structural issues contained
in the manufacturer’s negative response before granting approval. The forklift
nameplates must be changed accordingly.
Forklifts: Free Rigging Requires Manufacturer's Approval, OSHA Standard Interpretation,
(1999, October 22). Free rigging is the direct attachment to or placement of
rigging equipment (slings, shackles, rings, etc.) onto the
forks of a powered industrial truck for a below-the-forks lift. This
type of lift does not use an approved lifting attachment. Although free rigging is a common practice, it could affect the
capacity and safe operation of a powered industrial truck.