Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry


March 12, 2012

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When does your forklift become a crane?

Subdivision CC, otherwise known as the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard, applies to equipment that can hoist, lower, and horizontally move a suspended load. Does that equipment include forklifts? According to the standard's Scope, Subdivision CC does not apply to forklifts used exclusively to lift or lower a load when the forks are placed under the load.

But does Subdivision CC apply when a forklift lifts or lowers a load suspended from the forks? The answer depends on what you use to hoist, lower, and horizontally move a suspended load.

Subdivision CC does not apply if the forklift's sole means of suspending the load is a chain, nylon strap, or other rigging wrapped around the forks. The practice, known as free rigging, is generally safe if the forklift operator complies with all the relevant requirements of the Powered Industrial Truck standard – including using certified and competent operators, keeping the load within the rated capacity of the truck, and using extreme caution when tilting the load. Your forklift remains a forklift.

But, what if you attach a boom (with a winch and a hook) to the forks and use the attachment to suspend a load? Does Subdivision CC apply? In this case, the answer is "yes" because you're using the winch and hook to "hoist, lower, or horizontally move a suspended load." Most boom attachments fit directly over the forks, which makes it very easy to turn your forklift into a mini crane. And many different types of attachments are available from retailers. But just remember: the attachment must be designed and approved for such use by forklift manufacturer, or you must have written permission from the manufacturer stating that that attachment can be used safely with the lift.


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