The humble forklift truck has been with us for almost 100 years. During that time it has adapted and evolved, using new technology when it has arisen, to become the ubiquitous workhorse we know today.
An Unsung Hero
Without realising it, most of us depend on the forklift for the essentials of everyday living. Whether you are shopping at the supermarket, are browsing the aisles of an out-of-town garden store, or have recently done some DIY, most of the goods and items on sale in our shops and stores have been moved at some point by a forklift truck.
Powerful, compact and easy-to-manoeuvre it is no wonder the forklift is a firm favourite with construction workers and warehouse managers alike. Their simple design, with a counterweighted frame and hydraulically-operated lift to elevate and lower the forks, has remained fundamentally the same during its entire lifespan. There are several variations on the basic model including electrically-operated trucks through to more powerful rough terrain diesel versions. There are now even remotely-operated forklifts which can be used in areas which may be detrimental to human drivers.
Forklift trucks must only be used by fully trained operators. This is to avoid serious injuries and possible fatalities which can occur when they are used inappropriately. Each type of forklift will present its own hazard, some of which include falling loads, being driven off loading docks, being struck by a truck which is being driven and falling from elevated pallets. When you consider that every year, almost 18 people are fatally injured in accidents involving new and used forklifts, it becomes apparent exactly why both drivers of forklifts and those working in the same environment as them must undergo regular and comprehensive training. There are various approved organisations, operating under the auspices of the Health and Safety Executive, which offer training and monitoring to raise safety standards within the workplace.
Finding A Quality Second-Hand Forklift Truck
With new forklift trucks costing about the same as a family-sized car, it makes sound financial sense to consider previously used forklifts, especially if those used versions come with vehicle checks and guarantees to ensure maximum safety at all times.
When buying used forklifts some key points to remember are the age and condition of the vehicle, what repairs it has had and any replacement parts which have been fitted, what it has previously been used for, what, if any, training is on offer for the purchaser in regard to vehicle maintenance and what standard of after-sales care is available.
Clearly, it makes sense to purchase used forklifts from a company that has a stand-out reputation, developed over a number of years, for in-depth product knowledge, great customer service and well-maintained vehicles. Also look out for and ask around about any customer testimonials which can be very revealing. A simple internet search will reveal which companies are willing to back up their claims with proof of their willingness to go that extra mile and ensure that their customers come back time and time again.
Alice Aires writes regularly on forklift trucks for a range of industry-specific websites and blogs such as Trucks Direct UK. He is particularly interested in health and safety relating to forklift sale, re-sale and use.