Forklift speed limit in Factory and what are the effective practice to control over speedingIn a typical setting, what was really the minimum and maximum forklift speed limit in the factory? It is one of the most frequently-asked questions we hear from many people and we will try to enlighten you about that.

The forklift is an important piece of heavy equipment when dealing with transporting and loading heavy goods and materials. It gets the job done safely and conveniently. But oftentimes, it causes of accidents when driven improperly. Driving too fast is one of the major causes of accidents in the warehouse. A speeding forklift can kill and seriously harm.

It is also important to keep an eye on the speed limit of the forklift so that you can optimize its use without sacrificing business productivity. It is equally essential to have a balance of these two factors.

Forklift Speed Limit According to OSHA

What does OSHA consider a “safe speed limit” to be for the operation of the forklift?

There are two related regulations that tackle the safe speed, namely:

29 CFR 1910.178(n)(8) – It states that under all travel conditions the forklift shall be operated at a speed that will allow it to be brought to a stop in a safe manner.

29 CFR 1910.178(n)(15) - While negotiating turns, speed shall be reduced to a safe level by means of turning the hand steering wheel in a smooth, sweeping motion. Except when maneuvering at a very low speed, the hand steering wheel shall be turned at a moderate, even rate.

ASME B56.1-2000 Safety Standard For Low Lift and High Lift Trucks – It has many provisions about the forklift speed limit.

Clearly, these related regulations do not specify the forklift speed limit. This is when confusion arises. OSHA, being the authority, should stipulate the specific about the safe travel speed of powered industrial truck. But we cannot get specific answer as to what was really the speed limit of forklift in factory setting.

However, OSHA does mention the factors to take into consideration when determining the speed limit

OSHA made no mentions about the legal speed. This, I think, put the burden of determining the speed limit to the shoulder of the employers, as they are the ones who know the factors that affect the safety of the forklift operators. These variables include, but are not limited to:

  • The type of forklift being utilized in the factory. There are many types of trucks. But in the factory, counterbalance is the one type that is most prevalent. Narrow aisles and order picker types are also common in the factory. They can be electric or gas or diesel powered. Each of these forklifts has its own speed limit. You can check the owner’s manual or the data plate.

  • The manufacturer's speed limitations on the forklift. You can check the specifications on the nameplate or in owner’s manual.

  • The load being carried. With the forklift being fully laden with load, braking can be an issue. If the forklift carries heavy loads, it takes some distance to put it into a full stop. Limiting the speed is a good way to mitigate accident.

  • Adequate stopping distances. Again, as mentioned above, determining the adequate stopping distance of the forklift is a good practice to know the required forklift speed limit in the factory.

  • Operating road surface conditions. The road surface plays a role as well in determining the forklift speed limit in factory. The road surface can be smooth, flat floor, rough, etc).

  • Pedestrian traffic, and other safety concerns. To better understand the speed limit, the pedestrians who are simultaneously working in the warehouse affect the movement of the forklifts. Imposing speed limit in different parts of the factory where there are more foot traffic is significant for safety.

Effective Practices to Control the Over Speeding Forklifts in the Factory

Posting of forklift speed limit signs

Safety signs provide adequate information about the enforced safety regulation in the warehouse or factory. It is noticeably seen in key locations of the workplace warning forklift operators to follow the instruction. You can see such speed limit signs as long there are vehicles and other heavy equipments being operated.

Posting of speed limit signs in the different areas of the warehouse or factory reminds drivers don’t go beyond the maximum speed limit.

If you don’t have such signs in your workplace, here are the signs you can buy:

Forklift Speed Limit 5 MPH Sign. 18x24 Metal Warehouse Safety Sign. Made in USA. Free Shipping SmartSign by Lyle K-0741-10-DG-12x18 "Forklift - Speed Limit 10 MPH" Diamond Grade Reflective Aluminum Sign


Installation of forklift speed control limiting device

The speed control limiting device maintains control over the forklift’s maximum speed. It gets rid of the chance of the operator to over speed by controlling the throttle system while still permitting to use the full lifting power of the truck.

Equipping the forklift with speed alarm

Provide the forklift operators with such device that will tell them how fast they are driving. One cool feature of speed alarm is that you can configure the system so that it will create beeps when the forklift approaches the speed limit and when the operator decide to exceed the speed limit, you can set it to flash warning lights or create loud siren sounds forcing the operator to speed down and preventing them not to over speed often.

Installation of forklift speed bumps

Such deterrent can be very helpful in controlling over speeding of forklifts in the factory. The forklift speed bumps slow the truck to a complete stop when passing thus reducing the chance of the driver to over speed. It is installed in key locations such as at the intersection, crosswalks, pathways, and in other important areas where bring the forklift traffic is required to prevent accidents and untoward incidences.

To Conclude This

Controlling the forklift speed limit in factory is a safety issue that need to be given priority. 

Imposing speed limit can prevent accidents. equipment damage and reduce maintenance cost. If you are still don't have such speed limit enforced in your workplace, do it not, don't wait for untoward incidence to occur.

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