The Forklift Jack
A forklift jack is a specialized piece of equipment that functions
precisely as advertised: the tool is used primarily to jack up forklifts,
though particular models can also manage to lift agricultural equipment as
well. While these devices possess a tremendous amount of utility, they are
capable of lifting weights of four tons or more into the air, making them
extremely dangerous. Proper safety should always be exercised in the use of a
forklift jack to ensure the well being of yourself and others.
Before ever beginning the actual act of lifting a forklift or other
machinery, ensure that the jack is capable of actually sustaining the load.
While this may seem like common sense, a detail that can easily be overlooked
is that a metric ton and a United States ton are not the same weight. A metric
ton weighs about 2200 pounds, whereas a conventional ton only weighs 2000
pounds. When ascertaining whether or not your forklift jack is
capable of lifting a load or not, this information is crucial. If you have a
forklift that weighs four tons and a lift that can produce four tons of lifting
power, whether or not they are both made in America or abroad is the difference
between being in a potentially life threatening situation or not. If a forklift
was made in Europe and the forklift jack in America, then the jack could not
safely raise it and should not be used. Before you do any maintenance,
determine where both machines came from and their respective, converted
Using a lift, particularly a forklift jack, as a means of supporting raised
machinery is outstandingly dangerous. Jacks are meant to provide lift, not to
actually support a forklift for any period of time. While it is true that a
quality jack will be able to sustain the continued pressure from the weight,
the danger lies more in the instability of the jack. The basic principle of
leverage dictates that the forklift will be held aloft by the pressure applied
at two opposing points. Should one of these waver by even a fraction, the
equilibrium that had been established will collapse.
The lift will fall on its side, dropping the forklift in the process, or worse,
it will shoot out as a result of the sheer force applied to it, causing
possibly tremendous damage.
To prevent this situation, the use of support stands is required; typically
they are constructed of high quality steel or metal and have rubber tips or
mats to aid against possible slipping. The use of two or more supports will
dramatically increase the stability and safety of any maintenance that requires
lifting a machine. Generally the stands can be acquired by the company that
manufactures the forklift jack itself; if for some reason they do not, the
supports can be found at independent retailers as well.
Remember, the forklift jack is tremendously useful, but comes with risk. Be
smart, and use caution when using any lift or jack.
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