We often get asked what the speed limit is on a forklift. The correct answer is “a speed that will allow a controlled stop at all times”. Or in OSHA’s words: OSHA standards require the forklift operator to maintain a safe speed at which he will have proper and complete control over the forklift.
Why no official number? Conditions vary greatly from one site to the next. What is a safe speed limit at one company may not be safe at another. Even at the same location a safe speed can change in a moment. A wet or slippery floor means reducing your speed, a “hot spot” for pedestrians means reducing your speed, a heavy load means reducing your speed, turning corners means reducing your speed, fog in the yard means reducing your speed – these are just a few examples.
What does this mean in practice? It means that forklift drivers must constantly be assessing the operating environment.
A proper training program will teach forklift operators to evaluate and recognize hazardous situations and adjust their speed accordingly.