If you’ve ever worked in a warehouse or even a big retail shop with a receiving dock, you’ve probably been around forklifts. We all know what they are, but are forklifts just standard industry equipment without much depth? Today, we’re looking at five interesting facts you probably didn’t know about forklifts and how these machines have a unique history you may not expect.
1. Forklifts Have Been Around Since the Early 1900s
The origin of the forklift dates back further than most people think. The technology originated in 1906 when the Pennsylvania Railroad focused on creating a battery-operated truck for carrying luggage. While modern forklift technology and usage increased in popularity during World War II, it’s interesting to see that the first versions were in the works nearly 40 years prior.
2. Forklifts Cause Very Few Accidents
When people think of warehouse or back-room accidents, they often imagine a forklift being the cause. However, forklifts only account for a small percentage of warehouse incidents. This low percentage is because operating a forklift requires proper licenses, and workers are generally safer driving them.
Far more workplace accidents come from the wooden palettes that forklifts move rather than the forklifts themselves. Also, many companies swap out forklift batteries for lithium-ion packs to reduce accidents and increase efficiency even further.
3. Forklifts Have Played Roles in Crimes
While you should always use a forklift for good, ne’er-do-wells have used them for petty crimes and vandalism. In 2014, criminals used a forklift to steal an ATM off the street in Fayetteville, Georgia. Thankfully, the positive uses of forklifts in everyday business operations far outweigh these kinds of incidents.
4. Forklift Rodeos Are Real
Anything requiring the slightest skill will become a game at some point. Because forklifts are tricky to drive, many manufacturing plants turn controlling these machines into a sporting event known as a forklift rodeo. The winners of these events perform incredibly tricky maneuvers with their rigs, making them worthy of the champion title.
5. Forklift Driving Is a Valuable Skill
Another interesting thing you probably didn’t know about forklifts is that there are currently multitudes of forklift operators in the United States. Being able to drive a forklift is always a highly sought-after skill. Learning the ropes on how to drive a forklift can thus provide lucrative career opportunities.