Forklift user's guide and FAQ
Many of our customers are highly experienced in using and procuring forklifts, others aren't. If there is anything you might not be sure about, this guide is for you.
What forklift do I need?
The most important things to consider are:
How heavy? All forklifts have a maximum lifting capacity, so you will need a forklift capable of lifting more than the heaviest item you will need lifting, which includes carrying items from one place to another. 'Ordinary' forklifts are available to lift from 1.5 tonnes to 5 tonnes.
Lifting capacities are given at a standard load centre, normaly 500mm. This means that the centre of mass of the load is expected to be 500mm from the back of the forks. If your load centre will be longer than 500mm (eg a uniform load more than 1000mm deep, or a machine being lifted with most of the weight at the far end from the forklift) you will need a forklift with a larger capacity than your load.
How high? Obviously this means to what height will you need to lift to. For moving pallets or loading lorries from the side almost any truck will do. If you're stacking or putting pallets into racking the lift height is important. Our available lift heights range from 3 metres to 7.9 metres, from the floor to the bottom of the forks. Bear in mind that many high-lift forklifts are not rated to their maximum capacity at their maximum lift height, so a '3 tonne' truck may be rated to lift 3 tonnes only to 4.5 metres, 2 tonnes to 6.5 metres, or less than 1 tonne to 7.9 metres.
How high (again)? This time consider any height restrictions in the operating area of the truck, and whether the truck will need to operate inside a shipping container, or under a mezzanine floor etc. Consider the height of any doorways the truck will need to pass through. We offer trucks with a closed height of 2050mm and up. Forklifts that can lift higher will generally be taller, the closed height of a truck that can lift to 6.5m will be 2500mm or more.
A forklift with Full Free Lift (FFL) can raise the forks within the closed height. A truck without FFL increases in overall height if the forks are raised at all. This is important if operating inside a container or underneath a raised floor, a non-FFL truck will get taller when picking up pallets and could cause serious trouble. Specify Full Free Lift for these applications.
What fuel? We offer gas (LPG/Propane), diesel and electric trucks.
Diesel trucks are powerful and are ideal for well-ventilated or outdoor opertaions, especially where there is already a supply of red diesel.
Gas trucks are similarly powerful to diesel and are soot-free, meaning they can be more easily used indoors in moderately ventilated areas. Gas is supplied in bottles fitted to the back of the truck, which are exchanged when empty. 1 bottle should last 1 moderate full shift of use.
Currently, gas forklifts are our most popular type to hire.
Electric trucks have no exhaust and are ideal for use in confined spaces or where cleanliness is essential. Depending on your electricity arrangements they can be very cheap to run, but require regular charging (usually overnight) and require a charging station. Electric forklifts are usually available in smaller capacities than their engine-powered counterparts (1-2 tonnes) and are usually optimised for operating in tight spaces indoors.
Do I need drivers to have a forklift license?Despite what many people will tell you, a 'forklift license' is NOT a legal requirement. The HSE recommends only that drivers are 'adequately trained', the precise form of this training is up to you. 'Forklift licenses' are however a good way to ensure that drivers are adequately trained in a known and documented way, and is useful to demonstrate that fact to the HSE, insurers etc.
What is and isn't included with hired forklifts?
All hired forklifts come with servicing, breakdown response and Thorough Examinations included in the price. Drivers and fuel are not included. You are still responsible for carrying out daily checks, including oil levels, coolant levels, battery water levels and so on. You must inform us immediately of any faults or leaks etc, as any damage caused by continuing to use a faulty truck may be chargeable.
Hires do not include tyre wear, so if your drivers are spinning the wheels or generally ragging round you may have to replace the tyres at the end of hire, or before if they wear down to the minimum level. Damage caused to the truck will of course be charged for, although we are far more generous than many of our competitors and don't count scratches etc like many hire providers do.
How long does a gas bottle last?
It depends on how the truck is being used and driven; but a standard 18kg gas bottle should last approximately 8 hours.
Can I use a gas/diesel truck indoors?
Yes, provided it isn't in a confined space. Gas trucks are more suitable for indoor use than diesels, which can produce soot. Using gas trucks indoors shouldn't pose a problem in the majority of circumstances as long as there is ventilation and/or space for exhaust fumes to disperse. Most forklifts use modified car engines, so they will be safe to use anywhere a car would be. If in doubt consult your usual source of health and safety advice.
How long does a day/week hire actually last for?
A truck delivered on monday morning for one day's hire will be collected last thing on monday.
A truck delivered on tuesday morning for one week's hire will be collected last thing on the next monday.
Can you come out and move a machine for me?
We can supply a forklift for one day for you to move the machine; but we will not supply a driver. Our insurance man doesn't like the idea of us moving other people's machinery.
Similarly we do not transport other people's forklifts on our lorry. We are not licensed or insured as general hauliers.
Can I use a forklift on the road?
You can, if it is road registered.
To be legal on the road it must have a DVLA registration shown on at least one numberplate and a tax disc. Any driver must have a full class B (car) driving license and be over 18 years old. It must not travel more than 1 mile from its usual base of operations, and must have a flashing amber beacon if it is to be used on an unrestricted (National Speed Limit / 70mph) dual carriageway. It must also carry Third Party motor insurance. The speed limit for a forklift (classified in law as a "Works Truck") is 18mph.
Technically, the above applies whenever a forklift is used anywhere accessible to the general public, such as in an unfenced front yard or loading a lorry that is stopped on a road. Fortunately, forklift users are rarely prosecuted in such circumstances.
Obviously this isn't everything- if you have any questions then please call us on 01827 313335.
More will be added to this page in time.