Forklifts are invaluable pieces of industrial equipment that require careful handling when transported between sites. Weighing several tons, forklifts need to be properly secured during shipping to prevent any accidents or damages enroute. This article provides a detailed guide on safely preparing, loading, transporting and unloading a forklift.

Preparing the Forklift for Transport

Drain Fluids

Drain all fluids from the forklift like gasoline, diesel, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant etc. to avoid any leakage during transport. Properly discard drained fluids as per environmental regulations.

Secure Loose Parts

Secure all loose parts like forks, mast, tires etc. using straps or ropes to prevent any movement during transit. Tie down or remove extra components that can break or come off.

Protect Exposed Parts

Cover exposed hydraulic cylinders, hoses, valves and other parts using wraps or plastic sheets to protect them from weather elements and potential damage.

Preparing the Forklift for Transport

Choose Right Transport Method

For short distances, use a standard truck while for long haul, opt for transport carrier trailers that can safely hold heavy equipment. Never transport on top of other vehicles due to high center of gravity risks.

Load Safely onto Transport Vehicle

  • Use proper rated lifting straps under forklift chassis and mast to lift onto carrier bed.
  • Engage parking brake and chock wheels once loaded to prevent any rolling during transit.
  • Use wheel locks and tie down straps to securely fasten forklift to bed at multiple contact points.

Prepare Documentation

Ensure proper shipping paperwork like bill of lading is prepared. Mention equipment details, dimensions, weight accurately. Obtain permits if transporting oversized load over highways.

Safety During Transport

Choose an Experienced Shipping Company

Entrust transport job to professionals who are certified to ship heavy machinery safely across long distances. They will follow safety protocols.

Inspect securing before Departure

Just before leaving, thoroughly inspect if forklift is properly loaded, strapped down and wheels are chocked. Test securing to confirm it can withstand vibrations.

Avoid Harsh Braking and Turns

Instruct driver to avoid sudden braking, acceleration or sharp turns that can stress tie downs or shift loaded forklift during transit. Maintain safe speed as per weight.

Monitor periodically

Request carrier to periodically check securing straps enroute for any looseness and retighten if needed, especially after rest stops.

Unloading at Destination

Inspect Securing before Unloading

Check straps and have driver chock wheels firmly before releasing them to hold vehicle stable while unsecuring.

Detach Safely using lifting Gear

Use same rated lifting gear to detach straps and carefully lower forklift to ground in controlled manner. Don’t leave machinery unattended until brakes are set.

Disengage Transport Locks

Unlock wheel locks, transportation locks, tow pins etc. before driving off transport carrier trailer bed.

Refill Fluids Before Use

Before using forklift at new site, refill all drained fluids and conduct inspection and tests as per manufacturer guidelines.