Using a Rough Terrain Forklift

Rough Terrain Forklift
Rough Terrain Forklift

A rough terrain forklift differs from a traditional forklift in many ways, and it is important to be aware of these differences for optimal and safe operation.  These types of lift trucks are great for material handling of heavy loads over uneven terrain such as on construction sites.  Due to the nature of this type of industrial equipment, special attention is required to operate them safely.

First, you need to be aware that the rough terrain forklift weighs considerably more than an average car. In fact, their weight is thousands of pounds greater. This means that any load lifted must be stabilized to avoid tipping the lift truck over.

The next safety area for this type of industrial equipment involves steering and stability. A forklift operator needs to navigate turns very carefully and approach changes in terrain with caution.  There are a number of modes a rough terrain forklift will have for steering. These include select steering, two wheel steering, four wheel steering, and crab steering. These modes allow the operator to choose which wheels to steer with based on a specific situation, such as a need for a tight turn, a need to increase the speed, or loads that are awkwardly placed and difficult to pick up.

The third area of rough terrain forklift safety involves the lift truck’s center of gravity, suspension, and stability triangle.  It is important to work with the center of gravity of the fork lift as well as the low center of gravity – this is actually referred to as a combined center of gravity. Therefore, the forklift operator needs to compensate as the load is in transit, or as it is being lifted.  Quick acceleration should be avoided and corners should always be taken at a slow speed. The operator should also keep the lift truck’s attachments low to the ground to maximize the center of gravity during material handling.

The last two areas for safely operating a rough terrain forklift involve following the manufacturer’s specifications for lifting and load capacity. It is extremely dangerous to exceed this. Also, it is very important to have each and every load centered on the forklift. This can be challenging in circumstances with non-regular shaped loads, such as those found in construction sites, so great care must be taken to ensure the load is properly centered for stability.

Remember to follow these safety guidelines when operating a rough terrain forklift. This is a serious type of industrial equipment that requires training and strict adherence to safety protocols.  Your material handling can be completed both safely and effectively through the use of a rough terrain lift truck.

About the Author
Bahrns Equipment specializes in industrial equipment for industrial needs, such as forklifts, packaging and material handling. Visit the company online at to learn more about what they offer, and see how they can become your industrial supplier of choice.

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