According to Australian Forklift Training , most sit down (counter balance) type forklifts have a narrow wheel base and can easily be tipped over sideways.
Several forklift operators have no idea how close their bad driving habits bring them to tipping the forklift over. A number of accidents where forklifts roll over are caused by forklift drivers trying to turn the forklift a little faster than they usually do.
Their normal bad driving habits have them operating so close to tipping over that a small change such as going a few kilometers per hour faster than usual or having the load raised a little higher than normal can spell disaster.
Following are the common causes of forklifts tipping over sideways:
- Turning at speed
- Driving over uneven surfaces
- Unevenly distributed load
- Driving with a flat, or under inflated tyre
- Driving too fast (loaded or unloaded)
- Turning with the load raised
- Braking too hard when cornering
- Side shift not centred
It is important that forklift operators are aware of these common causes, so that they can prevent a rollover from happening.
It is also important for forklift companies to highlight areas such as uneven surfaces, and places where forklift operators are known to turn and travel fast, so that procedures for operating safely can be established.
Good operating procedures should include: driving and turning at a safe speed, the correct way to travel on uneven surfaces on the site, how to distribute load weight, checking for under inflated tyres before use (where applicable), keeping the load below the front axle or as low as possible while traveling, how to stop or turn in an emergency and the correct use of the side shift.