‘Rear End Swing’ as WorkCover refer to it, is responsible for a majority of damage caused to racking, products and machinery.
In the current forklift theory test, one of the questions that applicants must answer correctly to get their licenses is: Why is “rear end” swing dangerous on forklift trucks fitted with rear end steering?
The answer according to WorkCover is: The rapid sideways movement at the rear of the forklift truck creates a hazard, particularly for pedestrians near by.
According to Australian Forklift Training , as forklifts steer with the back wheels, the rear of the forklift turns up to three and a half times faster than the speed of travel. With the rear end, steering operators need to keep to the inside of every turn to allow enough room for the rear of the forklift to swing around.
As soon as forklift operators get a little careless and complacent about watching the swing, damage starts to occur. Most damage to stock, racking and machinery is caused by the rear of the forklift hitting it.
The damage can be recognised by looking at any forklift and noticing that the paint on the sides of the machine is perfect (depending on the age) but the rear is usually bare metal. All or at least most of the paint will have been scratched off.
If worksites and stocks of forklift operators are regularly damaged and there is not much paint on the back of the forklifts, then rear end swing is responsible for the problem. Forklift operators need to be mindful of the rear end swing and the risk it poses to products and pedestrians.
Several pedestrians have been hit because the forklift operator misjudged how fast and how far the rear swings around. Often the forklift operator tries and turns the forklift away from the pedestrian only to find that in doing so, the rear of the forklift swings right into them.
A solution to this is to reinforce the dangers of rear end swing and to keep pedestrian access excluded from forklift operating areas.