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Know your load to stay safe on your forklift

Agriculture.com Staff Updated: 07/12/2010 @ 4:11pm

Forklifts can be invaluable tools in the farm shop when it comes to moving large quantities of material or other machinery. But, without the right safety precautions, these tools can lead to serious accidents.

That makes it essential to stay fully aware of your surroundings when operating a forklift on your farm. And, that starts with what you're moving and hauling. According to a report from the North Carolina State University (NCSU) department of environmental health and safety, the most common cause for forklift accidents is moving an imbalanced load, which can result in tipping the machine.

That's why awareness of your load is of utmost importance. NCSU officials recommend going through this checklist before moving any material to ensure your safety:

- The capacity of the forklift: Can it handle the size and weight of your load?

- Any odd characteristics of the load: Is it top-heavy, cylindrical or awkward?

- The condition of the forklift: Are the forks damaged or is there some other problem that could cause an accident?

- Where you are and where you are going with the load: Are there any obstacles, bumps, ramps, people or narrow passageways to consider?

"You can avoid becoming a statistic if you'll just take the time to review forklift hazards and how to avoid them," according to an NCSU report. "Try to keep them in mind each and every time you prepare to use a forklift." u� io�?� �t� ou can use it for 3 or 4 years and probably only drop the resale/trade-in value by 25%. Then, if you want to get some newer paint, you just bump up again.

"Personally, I love low-hour used iron. Great value as long as you are willing to do the extra maintenance."

Others say the economic downturn that's thought to be the culprit of lower sales actually could entice more sales. It's all about how you write off equipment depreciation, says Machinery Talk member Pupdaddy.

"In this economic environment, we have what may be possibly the best time to buy new equipment that we've ever experienced. If you buy something, you can depreciate virtually all of it against your income in the first year," he says. "On top of the Section 179 deduction that you can take this year on either new or used is another 50% reduction against your income if the machinery is new.

"I'd run a pencil over those figures this year, and I'm thinking I might be buying a few necessary long-term usage items even if I have to finance them."

And, if that latter point becomes a reality for you, talk to your dealer, adds another Machinery Talk member. They may be just as hungry to sell the machinery as you are to buy it right now.

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