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Archive for December, 2019

Common Questions About Forklift Training

December 30th, 2019  | 
Resource Center/BLOGTraining

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces standards to ensure we all work in safe and healthful conditions. There are significant consequences and fines for breaking OSHA’s rules, so it’s important to know what is required to remain compliant. 

OSHA’s website is the best place for information. To help you out, here are answers to commonly asked questions about operating a forklift and forklift operator safety training.   

How old do you need to be to drive a forklift? 

You must be 18-years old to drive a forklift for non-agricultural operations. 

Do forklift operators need a valid state driver’s license? 

No. The only OSHA requirement is that operators are trained and certified to drive the specific forklift used in the workplace.  

Do forklift operators need training every year?  

No. Annual training is not needed unless there is an accident or other unsafe incident. The forklift operator receives a poor evaluation or changes to the work environment or the type of forklift used. 

How often do forklift operators need recertification? 

OSHA requires an evaluation of every forklift operator at least once every three years. 

Do forklift operators need to be trained every time they drive a new lift truck? 

It depends. If your operator is certified to drive a 3-wheel electric forklift and replace it with a newer model, they do not need recertification. However, if you add an entirely new type of forklift to your fleet, for example, an Order Picker or Reach Truck, your forklift operator needs to be trained on the new type of forklift before they use it. 

We only use small hand pallet jacks. Do our employees need to be OSHA certified to use them? 

Yes. Hand pallet jacks may look small and harmless, but any industrial truck is powerful and dangerous. 

We use golf carts to get around our facility. Do our employees need OSHA certification to drive them? 

No. OSHA does not regulate golf carts, but you need to maintain a safe workplace, including training your operators to drive a golf cart safely. We suggest you refer to the manufacturer’s operating instructions for proper use instructions.  

Do you provide forklift operator safety training? 

Yes, we do. Our program utilizes the SAFE-Lift training developed by experts at Toyota. Click here for a list of training dates at our location in Santa Fe Springs.  

We also offer Train-the-Trainer courses, refresher courses, and group classes at your location.  

What do you include in your training? 

Our three-hour forklift operator safety training includes classroom and hands-on instruction by Toyota-certified trainers. Every attendee receives a certificate, wallet-sized operator certification card, training booklets, and comprehensive testing. 

Make sure you’re OSHA compliant and that you check OSHA’s website often for the latest rules and regulations. It’s an essential factor in a workplace safety program and to protect your employees and your bottom line.   

Do you have questions we haven’t addressed? Contact us for answers!   

Electric vs. IC Forklifts: Pros and Cons

December 10th, 2019  | 
Electric ForkliftsResource Center/BLOG

Experts at Toyota Forklifts often share their knowledge through in-depth whitepapers. Toyota’s nine-page white paperForklift Decisions and Responding to the Electric Trend, written in partnership with New Equipment Digest, examines the factors organizations should consider when choosing between an electric and IC forklift. It also includes key questions to consider when evaluating electric forklifts.   

Here is a quick summary of the white paper, broken down into bullet points with the pros and cons of electric and IC forklifts. If you’re interested in reading the entire white paper, click the link at the end of this article. 

Summary: Electric forklifts are becoming more attractive as battery costs decline and customers continue to seek fuel-saving and maintenance benefits. It doesn’t mean that IC forklifts are no longer relevant. Deciding which option is ideal depends on the intended use for the forklift and the operating environment. 

Electric Pros 

  • Battery costs are declining.
  • Lithium-ion battery technology continues to evolve. Almost every Toyota electric forklift has one or more compatible lithium-ion batteries on the market. Lithium-ion eliminates the need for watering and charges much more quickly than lead-acid batteries. It also eliminates the need to remove the battery from the truck while still maintaining the use of that truck in a multi-shift application. 
  • An electric forklift may be as much as 75% less expensive to operate than propane fuel.
  • Designed for easy access for maintenance and have fewer moving parts to maintain and repair 
  • A tighter turn radius allows an electric forklift to operate in smaller areas.
  • Advancements make electric forklifts more suitable for outdoor use. Toyota’s 3-wheel electric and 80-volt pneumatic models protect critical forklift components from potential damage due to water intrusion.

Electric Cons 

  • The initial investment for an electric forklift is more than the upfront cost of an IC vehicle. 
  • Multi-shift operations need to purchase additional electric forklifts, so some vehicles can charge while the others are in use.  
  • Alternativelya multi-shift operation may need to keep extra fully charged batteries on hand and install them to keep vehicles running.
  • Requires technical skill and a significant amount of installation time
  • Increases the need for storage space 

IC Pros 

  • IC forklifts are suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications 
  • Depending on the situation, total operating costs may be lower for IC forklifts 
  • Operations that use multiple work shifts may experience more significant savings with IC forklifts because of additional maintenance and charging requirements for battery-powered vehicles
  • Propane tanks can swap out in a few minutes, and the forklift can be back in operation quickly
  • IC forklifts only require storage space for propane tanks  

IC Cons 

  • IC forklifts require regular engine maintenance, such as oil changes, spark plugs, belts, and inspections.  
  • IC engines also tend to create more disposal waste related to maintenance, such as engine oil and transmission fluid. 

Our experienced and qualified material handling experts are ready to help you decide which forklift is best for your business and application. Contact us to help evaluate your needs and options.  

Click below to read the full white paper. 

Forklift Decisions and Responding to the Electric Trend, Whitepaper 2019