21 November 2016

(Updated for 2021)

It sounds like a verse or a game from our childhood, but also in a materials handling environment sometimes it is important to remember to "stay put where you are." A good example are lift truck drivers. If they - for whatever reason - get off their seat while the lift truck is still driving, then life-threatening situations can arise.

Even if the truck is standing still, it could be dangerous. For example, if the forklift driver decides to get up and put his arm through the mast to straighten a pallet, one of the mast levers may be touched unintentionally.
That’s why forklift safety laws require forklift drivers to wear a seatbelt. The belt or, in some countries, any other legally permissible tool that keeps the driver within the contours of the truck, ensures that the driver is not trapped when the truck tips over.

Forklift safety in dangerous situations

Even when there is no tipping danger, it is vital for a forklift driver to stay seated.
To increase forklift safety and to ensure that the driver stays seated while the truck is driving, forklift trucks are often equipped with a dead man’s switch or button. Usually, this is a switch under the seat. It switches the power to the forklift truck off immediately when the driver gets out of the seat while driving. That protects the forklift driver in many situations, including if they were to move from the seat due to feeling unwell.

PDS+ - the smart dead man’s switch

The dead man’s switch on a forklift is not a new safety feature. However, it is getting smarter. Take the PDS feature on Cat® lift trucks, for example. PDS stands for “Presence Detection System” . This advanced system makes sure that the lift truck does not work if the driver is not in the driver’s seat. But there’s more. Not only will the lift truck not drive, but also all the hydraulic functions are disabled. PDS+ also includes a feature that prevents the undesirable rolling back of the truck, like on a ramp, and an automatic parking brake.

The PDS+ forklift safety feature is available on all of our counterbalance forklift truck models. Take a look at our complete range to find out more.

For more information on forklift safety, visit our forklift safety information hub.

Safety first!