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What should the speed limit of a forklift be?

velocidad carretillas claitec


At Claitec we strive to uphold the highest levels of commitment towards our customers.

As such we care about their needs and are concerned in all aspects of their job security.

Our goal is to try to resolve any of their doubts as soon as possible so that they can maximise the benefits of the products we offer and minimise all risks in their work areas.

One of the questions most frequently asked by our customers relates to the speed limit that should be applied to a forklift in order to prevent accidents during handling. These trucks are heavy vehicles made of steel, used to lift and carry equally heavy products.

A forklift’s accidental impact with people or objects could have severe consequences for a factory or warehouse. Hence the concern of our users to maintain proper monitoring of safety procedures.


How to determine the optimal speed limit?

In addition to the use of technology to prevent accidents such as the acoustic and light warning devices, or pedestrian alert systems offered by Claitec, it is equally important to consider the forklift’s speed limit. The goal here is to optimise the use of these vehicles, limiting them to a safe speed without impacting on the production levels of the company.

Currently, there is no specific legislation establishing a speed range although many security managers follow the technical notes published the National Institutes for Safety and Hygiene in each country.

Generally, it’ considered acceptable to maintain a circulation of 20 km/h in outdoor open spaces and a maximum of 10 km/h indoors where forklifts regularly interact with pedestrians.

Claitec’ s safety technician, a professional with a broad experience in the field who regularly visits factories and warehouses as part of his job, recommends analysing each case independently to adopt the most suitable security measures to the needs of each company.

These are the factors he recommends should be taken into account in order to make an appropriate decision:


Factors that influence the choice of correct speed limit:

  1. Manufacturer. Forklifts from different manufacturers vary in size, weight and construction material. These characteristics should be taken into account to determine the appropriate speed of the vehicle. The higher the weight, the lower the speed.
  2. Corridors. The state of the corridors through which the forklift circulates must also be considered. The surface resistance and slip capacity will determine the distance required to stop the vehicle.
  3. Visibility. Another vital element is the driver’s visibility. The driving speed must be lower in areas of low visibility.
  4. Obstacles. Finally, bring into the equation any obstacles like ramps, curves and bumps in the road. The speed of the forklift must decrease as the inclination of the ramp increases. In addition, sudden turning movements should be avoided at all times.


The importance of Communication.

After determining the appropriate speed limit in each case it is necessary to ensure its compliance by all operators. Effective communication with employees is essential to achieve this goal. It is recommended to signal the agreed speed limit at appropriate intervals and in suitable places as a reminder for the drivers.

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