Lift trucks are a must-have for any manufacturing or warehousing environment. However, you may benefit from a more specialised piece of equipment like a reach forklift truck.
Lift truck training
Because a reach truck forklift has a different purpose from your standard counterbalance model, it requires unique training. Although, we do discuss this topic in detail in our article “Is forklift driving a good job?” to keep it short, you need a novice training certificate in reach truck driving.
Novice training will show you how to use their functions, which can include a tilt mechanism and a camera that lets you inspect the loads you lift. Despite carrying lighter loads, you are still moving pallets high above your head, that’s why training is so important. Failing to have a valid level of training often results in injuries.
How to safely use a reach forklift truck
For those with valid training that just want a brief reminder of the protocol you should follow when operating a reach forklift:
- Wear appropriate safety wear
This includes a hard hat, a high visibility vest, no loose fitted clothing and steel-toed boots.
- Inspect your vehicle
Make sure that the breaks, the steering and the controls work before beginning work with it.
- Be aware of your surroundings
Don’t use your vehicle in a crowded area or anywhere that has staff not wearing appropriate safety wear.
- Make sure there are no hazards
Clear the pathways you look to take and make sure there are no damaged rackings in the area you’ll be moving your load around
- Drive and drive safely
Once you have checked out all these steps you can operate the vehicle safely. When driving the forklift remember:
- The forks should always be low while driving
- The forks should always be tilted towards you while carrying a load
- Always check the pallet or stock you will lift is secure before moving
- Never exceed the maximum weight limit
- Never travel on a ramp with no railings
- Only lower or raise the forks when the vehicle is stationary
- Always look in the direction you are driving
Do I need a reach or counterbalance forklift?
Both the reach and counterbalance forklifts are excellent options for warehouses, but which one do you need? What are the differences between the two?
A counterbalance forklift is most likely the layman’s idea of a forklift. It is shorter than the reach variety so it is more limited in the height it can achieve. The counterbalance is a weight that balances the load you are lifting. They generally have larger wheels so can be used indoors and outdoors.
Reach trucks are not equipped for outdoor use. With smaller wheels and a low undercarriage, they can’t be used on an uneven surface as they can get stuck or damaged. Unlike the counterbalance forklift, the reach uses supporting legs to stabilise the load, which is why it can only handle a smaller capacity than the counterbalance.
With these considerations, a reach truck forklift is the best choice for indoor warehouse use carrying lighter loads. Their ability to fit down narrow spaces and reach the top of racking makes them more useful than any counterbalance machine. If using heavy loads outdoors the counterbalance is the best.
To keep it simple here are the benefits of a reach truck forklift:
- Smaller turn radius
- Can reach much higher
- Occupy less warehouse space
- Easier to navigate due to a front-facing cabin
How high can a forklift reach?
Reach truck forklifts can reach up to 40 feet high, whereas a counterbalance truck can only reach around 25 feet. Warehouses with high racking should use a reach truck.
Should you own both?
If you intend on having racking over 25 feet then you should consider owning both models. With high-reach forklift trucks, you will benefit from being able to store more in your warehouse by having higher racking. As long as you have left enough space between the racking and ceiling to allow your sprinkler system to function properly, you can store your supplies 30+ feet high in the UK.
Buying a new or used reach forklift
Used forklifts can be ideal for businesses that need lifting equipment but don’t have big budgets. While new forklifts can cost tens of thousands of pounds, used models are often available for a fraction of the price. Any respectable dealer will provide their used range fully serviced. As you can imagine when we sell our models like our used Toyota reach forklifts they are fully serviced before they are ready to be sold.
If you are willing to invest more money you should buy a new forklift. Newer models typically have better technology and improved specs that allow them to be handled easier with less stress placed on their mechanisms.
The other option is forklift hire. Our forklift hire periods can be as short as a single day, while customised deals are available on long-term rentals of up to five years.
Speak to us
At Premier Lift Trucks we can give you expert advice on what model will benefit you or your team and if you would benefit from hiring or purchasing a vehicle. So why not call us on 01254 583 533 and we can talk over what your warehouse needs?