Driving with an elevated mast is dangerous. It makes the forklift less stable and leads to tipping over, particularly if the forklift is being driven at speed. When the mast is elevated and the forklift is in motion, the quicker it travels the higher the likelihood of the forklift tipping. Unfortunately driving fast with the mast elevated is common practice in some workplaces where operators drive recklessly, have inadequate training, or are under pressure to complete their workload as quickly as possible.
In June 2015 a revised version of the Australian Standard for forklifts (AS2359.1:2015) was released. This standard now requires specific model forklifts sold in the Australian market to be equipped with a travel speed / mast elevation interlock to positively prevent the operator from driving fast with the mast elevated.
Australian Standard AS 2359.1:2015 - Powered industrial trucks Clause 8.2.3 is titled: "Speed reduction for ride-on electric trucks with an elevated mast" and states: "For electric counterbalance and reach trucks, the truck speed
shall be reduced to a maximum speed of 3km/h when:
(i) The mast is above staging (maximum free lift) for trucks with a mast with full free lift.
(ii) The forks are lifted more than 800mm from the ground for trucks with a mast that has limited free lift."
As of June 2015, all manufacturers are required to offer the travel speed reduction with mast elevated on new electric trucks they supply in Australia. Operators and supervisors are advised to ensure their new electric counterbalance and reach trucks have this feature and enquire if an upgrade for their existing fleet of trucks is available in order to help avoid tipping accidents.
Staying ahead of the game and the competition, MLA Holdings and Mitsubishi Forklifts began offering this feature on their electric counterbalance and reach trucks at the beginning of 2014. Every new electric Mitsubishi forklift and reach truck will be delivered with the travel speed reduction feature, ensuring maximum operator safety.
This feature is currently not available on LPG and diesel forklifts as the technology on these trucks does not permit manufacturers to make the modification. Information for this article was sourced from Australian Standard AS 2359.1:2015 and www.forkliftbriefing.com. For more information contact MLA Holdings.