18 March 2022

How do you protect your greatest materials handling assets? By that we mean your people, not your machines. Find out what an electric forklift truck can do to keep your workforce healthy and safe.

Forklift trucks are becoming smarter and more sophisticated – but they will never be as smart and sophisticated as the person behind the wheel. Compared to even the most expensive lift truck, your driver is a much bigger investment. Just think what you will spend on wages during the truck’s lifetime. Looking after drivers’ health and safety is not just a moral duty: it makes perfect business sense too.

Switching to electric forklift trucks could reduce losses of valuable driver time to illness and injury. As we will see, it might help maintain their performance and loyalty too. Here’s why…

Cleaner air

This is the most obvious health benefit for drivers and other workers. High levels of exhaust emissions cause respiratory illnesses and make existing health problems worse. With electric forklift trucks there are no harmful emissions.

Lower noise and vibration

Excessive exposure to noise or vibration will damage hearing and nerves, leading to permanent disabilities. At lower levels, these factors are simply annoying. But if workers suffer that annoyance hour after hour, day after day, it becomes a serious issue. It leaves them feeling tired, stressed and less fit for work. Eventually, it may affect their health. Electric forklift trucks give quieter performance with less vibration.

Less accident risk

Excess speed is a factor in many forklift accidents. Electronic aids can be used to match speeds safely with activities and conditions. This technology is generally more common and more advanced in electric forklift trucks.

Perhaps the simplest place to start is with the programming choices on an electric forklift. Maximum travel and hydraulic speeds are programmable, along with other parameters. They can be set in line with the individual driver’s experience and skill, or the application.

The best-equipped electric forklift trucks offer much more agile performance control. Travel speed may be automatically reduced as the steering angle increases, to make cornering safer. Similarly, there may be automatic travel speed adjustment according to fork height, to maintain stability. The speed of lifting, lowering and other mast functions may be adjusted for lift height and load weight. This keeps all load handling movements steady.

To these automated safety aids, we may add features like automatic parking brakes and hill hold. One fundamental characteristic of electric forklift trucks is their simple plug-in diagnostics and troubleshooting. It makes maintenance easier, highlights faults sooner and helps ensure trucks are in safe condition.

Better driving

The ideal forklift truck should be enjoyable to drive. It should also empower its driver to work well. These factors give drivers a sense of wellbeing and job satisfaction. They are good for staff morale, which is good, in turn, for mental and physical health. If the truck gives your drivers a positive user experience , they will be happier, healthier and more productive. They will also be more likely to repay your investment in them by staying with your company.

Electric forklift trucks have great advantages when it comes to driver satisfaction. We at Cat® Lift Trucks have been pioneers in forklift user experience, as explored in a previous article. This is reflected in trucks like our latest 4.0 to 5.5 tonne electric counterbalance forklift range. It has all the features mentioned so far – and more.

Importantly, the automatic speed adjustments it makes during cornering, travelling and load handling are applied smoothly. Everything feels comfortable and natural. In addition to safety, these systems increase productivity. That’s because they help drivers to work confidently and quickly – neither dangerously fast nor unnecessarily slowly.

Adaptive steering adjusts the turning ratio and force for optimum comfort, control and stability. It connects with our agile OmniTurn all-wheel steering system. SmoothFlow and other hydraulic technologies optimise mast and fork actions. Our Cat® Responsive Drive System (RDS) continuously adapts lift truck performance to the driver’s changing needs. It also smooths out all movements, stops and starts. We even have a PowerBurst function which automatically kicks in to add extra acceleration or climbing torque when needed.

Click here for further information on an electric forklift truck that maximises every health and safety advantage.

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Cat EP40-55(C)N(H) 80V electric counterbalance
Cat EP40-55(C)N(H) 80V electric counterbalance