ECN Forum
Posted By: drillman Forklift Baskets - 03/25/05 01:32 AM
I work for a maintenance dept and we have a forklift basket, is it legal to use?

If they are legal what are the restrictions?

Heres the deal, my boss wants to rent a 40 ft boom forklift and have me use the basket to change out some pole lights.

I am not in favor of this, I just have a bad feeling about getting in there with no controls 40 feet up.

I am aware of fall protection and I always wear it on a boom man lift.

My boss is not a tradesman he is a manager type and he probably saw the forklift basket and figured it would be ok.

If anyone can point me to some sort of OSHA regulation or something it would be most helpful.

Many thanks.
Posted By: safetygem Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/25/05 03:24 PM
Drillman... don't use the basket.

OK, I say that with a sincere concern for your safety, but, here is the deal as far as OSHA is concerned.

This type of device cannot be used with a forklift unless the manufacturer of the forklift has approved the use of the basket with their equipment. Where do I get this? The regulation cited by OSHA is: 29 CFR 1910.178(a)(4).

Here is the "stock" information that I put into my reports when I find one of these on a jobsite:
Remove the manlift basket/work platform from service until you obtain the powered industrial truck (e.g., forklift) manufacturer's written approval for its continued use. Modifications and additions which affect capacity and safe operation must not be performed by the customer or user without manufacturers prior written approval. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals must be changed accordingly.

If the truck is equipped with front-end attachments other than factory installed attachments, the user must request that the truck be marked to identify the attachments and show the approximate weight of the truck and attachment combination at maximum elevation with load laterally centered.

Ensure that if the approval is given that employees are instructed in the capacity and other limitations assigned by the manufacturers of the work platform and lift truck.

All work platforms used for lifting personnel must adhere to the applicable requirements of ASME B56.1-2000 as outlined in paragraphs 4.17.2, 4.17.3, and 7.36.3. Please be aware that OSHA will, in limited circumstances, allow the employer to obtain written approval from a qualified Registered Professional Engineer after receiving no response or a negative response from the powered industrial truck manufacturer. If the manufacturer's response was negative, then the engineer, prior to granting approval for the modification or addition, would need to perform a safety analysis and address all safety and/or structural issues contained in the manufacturer's disapproval.

Even where the addition of a work platform to a powered industrial truck is permitted under ยง1910.178(a)(4), employers must also address the fall hazards that result from the use of elevated platforms. An employer's failure to prevent or correct, to the extent feasible, fall hazards from elevated work platforms might be citable as a violation of Section 5(A)(1) of the OSHAct. OSHA's evaluation of the existence of a serious, recognized hazard and the availability of feasible means of abatement would include consideration of the relevant provisions of the ASME B56.1-2000 standard.

Most of the information above can be verified through a letter of interpretation that OSHA issued in on this condition. The letter can be reviewed online at:

One last thing... you mentioned that you regularly wear "fall protection" in other manlifts. You should be aware that technically you do not want to wear fall protection, you want to wear a restraint device. What's the difference? Well a restraint device prevents you from falling any distance and is usually attached to a lanyard that is no more than 3' in length. The reason for this is if the anchorage point on the lift will not withstand your fall, the entire lift may be toppled by the force of your body when your lanyard bottoms out. Or you may swing into the side of the lift. I am aware of at least one fatality where an employee wearing a 6-foot lanyard fell from the basket and swung into the side of the truck.

Here is a link to another letter that briefly explains this concept and the difference between "fall protection", "restraint devices" and "positioning devices".

Sorry for the length of the post, but, this is kinda complicated. Please let me know if this answers your question. [Linked Image]

Posted By: golf junkie Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/25/05 06:09 PM
If you have to rent anyway why not just rent the proper equipment.

Bucket truck or boom lift.

Or you can probably have a contractor come and do the work for you for about the same price as you would pay for equipment rental.

If you have to use a basket, make sure it is chained to the lift and use a harness. Still your safety is in the operators hands, if you don't have an operator you trust, don't go up.

Posted By: Trumpy Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/25/05 09:54 PM
I'll have to go with the concensus here.
I've used these things before and they are a worry at the least.
I agree fully with Golf Junkie's comments about your safety being in the hands of the forklift operator, one bump of a lever and it's all over. [Linked Image]
Having a cage literally just sitting on the forks of a forklift, isn't my idea of safe working practice.
I'd avoid this set up like the plague if I were you.
Posted By: drillman Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/26/05 02:33 AM
Safetygem: I know this is a complex subject, however my boss is a man who likes simple answers. I guess I will need to say no. I was not aware of this restriant device difference. Does the manufactor have to approve every brand of basket? Or can they just say "basket allowed"?

Golf Junkie: thats what I told the boss, rent the right equipment. He wants to try and save money by renting a forklift because he also needs to do some demo work.

Trumpy: well I am glad I am not the only one worried about this.

I am not sure how to approach this with the boss. He is a typical boss and is used to having his orders followed. I might even get fired. I do have civil service protection so maybe not.
Posted By: drillman Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/26/05 02:41 AM
Safteygem. one more question.

Do forklift manufactors even write letters of approval for these baskets?

Or have thier lawyers told them no way no how lawsuit waiting to happen do not even think about it?

Have you ever seen such a letter?

Also I thought there was a requirement for all man type lifts to have controls in the basket/bucket/platform. Is that correct?

Posted By: safetygem Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/26/05 03:43 AM
Have you ever seen such a letter?
I've had employers tell me they were going to ask for a letter, but, in nearly 10 years... I've seen 'narey a one produced. [Linked Image]
Also I thought there was a requirement for all man type lifts to have controls in the basket/bucket/platform. Is that correct?
You are correct and incorrect... imagine that we are talking about an OSHA regulation here! [Linked Image]

The OSHA regulations used to have this as a requirement and then they "discovered" that they had "improperly" taken this requirement from the original ASME standard which said these controls "should" be in the bucket. OSHA had to issue a "technical amendment" to remove the requirement from its standards. 7849

The standard "used to be" 1910.178(m)(12), but, as you can see, it doesn't exist anymore. 9828#1910.178(m)(12)
Big blank. [Linked Image]

Well... guess OSHA isn't always right. [Linked Image]

Sorry... I just can't stop grinnin' tonight. I was doing my taxes.. and I'm actually getting something back! [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by safetygem (edited 03-25-2005).]
Posted By: karlwayne Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/27/05 02:22 AM
Maybe your boss will show you how its done?
Posted By: Trumpy Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/27/05 02:59 AM
Sorry Drillman,
I never actually your original thread properly.
I missed this bit:
Heres the deal, my boss wants to rent a 40 ft boom forklift and have me use the basket to change out some pole lights.
40ft in anyone's language is a fair way up in the air and it is also a long way to fall!. [Linked Image]
Personally, you wouldn't get me up that high in anything less than a Certified Bucket Truck.
I hate to say it, but, you can tell your Boss, I reckon he is nothing short of a tight-**s.
Why risk the life and limbs of your workers just for a few dollars?. [Linked Image]
Posted By: safetygem Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/28/05 01:24 PM
On last comment drillman (unless you've got more questions).

Mike (Trumpy) is right on track... 40 ft up is a long way... especially in a forklift basket with a limited base dimension.

Your maximum working platform height must NEVER exceed 4 times your minimum base dimension. Most forklift are roughly 4 feet wide. So, that means that the maximum platform height would be 16 feet.

If you don't ensure this height to base ratio, you will likely have a tipover. Even on a relatively flat surface, 40 feet up in the air the platform support (mast) is not going to be "plumb." Don't let your boss give you the excuss that the forklift has a counter weight... that is not going to prevent a tipover in this circumstance.

You said you wanted to keep it "simple" for the boss, tell him, "I won't do this because it is unsafe, the maufacturer of the forklift did not approve the use of the basket attachment and the forklift is not equipped with outriggers to provide base stability."

I notice you are in the great state of Texas. Your state (along with 23 others) unfortunately does not have a safety and health protection program for public employees (civil servants). That's a shame. I would encourage you if your boss insists on the use of this device to pursue some grievance through your civil service process or collective bargaining procedures if there are any.

It really is sad and disheartening that in 2005, 35 years after the passage of the federal OSHAct that 23 states still do not provide safety and health protection for public employees. [Linked Image]
Posted By: danc Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/28/05 09:24 PM
I know this is primarily focussed on lift cages, but the same requirement applies to any attachment, correct?

Like the attachments that allow you to lift 55 gallon drums, or the fork extensions that provide safe lifting of longer loads. These would also require letters form the OEM. Has anyone successfully obtained letters permitting these? i would guess they are much more common than lifting cages.
Posted By: safetygem Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/28/05 11:27 PM
Dan.. for once I think I'll give a short answer. [Linked Image]

Yes the requirement to have approval applies to all attachments. Actually the most commont that I find are "crane" attachments.
Posted By: Trumpy Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/29/05 07:00 AM
Regardless of where the equipment is used.
This is a problem the world over.
Just because someone has purchased a Forklift, does not mean that it is instantly a Crane or any other piece of gear that it's owner want's it to be.
And in general, these people are the first to scream and b_tch when the thing breaks down.
Glenn, I agree with you on the point of the counter-wieght, the actual counter-wieght itself is only for the forklift and it's designed working capacity.
The actual working area of a Forklift is the same as an Isoceles Triangle, go outside of that and you are in the tip-over region.
Posted By: drillman Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/29/05 11:20 PM
Just to make it clear what we are talking about I found a picture on the internet. This is not the exact model but close to it.

The basket looks like the one in this link in the upper left hand side. Its not quite as nice as the in the link.

So the boss wants to put a basket on the end and send me up 40 feet. No way no how. I have used that basket changing bulbs in the warehouse at 15 feet high with a normal forklift. I will stop doing that.

The boss thinks that because you can buy those baskets then they are legal to use.
Posted By: renosteinke Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/30/05 01:45 AM
I've done a fair amount of thinking about this issue, and I am still a little confused as to what exactly is the problem.
If a machine will safely lift a ton of dynamite forty feet, then I fail to understand how it cannot also safely lift a man the same heigth.
I also have lessening respect every day for paperwork requirements....they often reach the point of sheer idiocy.

But- getting to the issue at hand. I see no reason why someone should not be able to make their own lift basket. What is important is to understand what will NOT work.
A pallet slipped over the forks is generally a bad idea. Pallet lumber is poor, likely to break, and can slip off as easily as it slipped on.
The basket needs to be securely attached to the machine. A c-clamp won't do, as the forks are tapered, and the clamp all to likely to come loose. A common method is to use a short length of chain, with a clasp.
You need some form of secure guard rail...these are typically located between elbow and shoulder level.
Some places also mandate a screen between the moving parts of the lift, and the basket. A good idea.
I'm not so sure about the places that mandate a part of the cage to go above head level. While intended to make it less likely that you will bump your head, it also make access and working the point that folks add ladders to the cage....definitely not to be reccomended!

Now, what about restraint? An ordinary forklift I expect would be considered as a scissor-lift is, and not require supplimental fall protection.
With the type of lift you're discussing, I believe that it would be considered as a boom lift, and some sort of fall restraint is required.

Fall protection comes in two basic styles. One uses a lanyard, and requires a full harness be worn. The other uses an inertial tether, and a simple body belt is adequate. You are permitted to "tie off" to either the basket, or the structure where you are working.

Not addressed is the matter of communication. Good communication with the operator is essential. Ambient noise, language issues, and poor acoustics can all make communication difficult. Over the distances you're discussing, I'd want some sort of communication device- whether it's a walkie-talkie or a cell phone, I don't care.

On another note: when it comes to your safety, regulations be damned. It's your butt, and you have every right to refuse to endanger it. Will such a stand put your job at risk? Probably- but you'll also lose your job if you get hurt. Making hard calls is part of what being a professional is all about.
Posted By: Big Ed Re: Forklift Baskets - 03/30/05 05:39 PM
I don't see what the hangup is. If the lift is designed to accept the basket, and the basket has the required sercuring hardware there should be no reason that it cannot be used. The weight restrictions of the basket and boom will have to be taken into account.

Whoever is operating the lift will have to be certified/trianed to operate that particular lift.

We have had a Cat RTC 60, a Lull and currently have a Ghel and use it on a regular basis, with the same basket that you linked to.
Posted By: highkvoltage Re: Forklift Baskets - 04/01/05 03:42 AM
Don't refuse just switch. Tell him you are more than willing to work on the project but he can go up in the basket and you will operate. If he doesn't like that answer and some other person is the assigned operator have him take the first ride up to demonstrate how effective this method is. Have a digital camera on hand so you can have some kind reference. Once you got a picture tell me to piss off.

[This message has been edited by highkvoltage (edited 04-01-2005).]
Posted By: danc Re: Forklift Baskets - 04/04/05 04:14 PM
We have several rough terrain fork trucks on my site, and "the guys" went out a purchased one of those lifting cages. it was removed from service by safety/health for liability reasons. they referenced the "NOT BE USED TO LIFT PERSONNEL" warning label in thew operators cock-pit as justification. Something about using a piece of equipment contrary to OEM's instructions would be a liability issue. Injured employees do much better in court when they can demonstrate their employer was instrucitng them to do something recognized as "unsafe".

Makes sense to me. If the basket is OK on the lift, the OEM will let you know.

Reno: regarding your statement about fall protection achorage points, OSHA speaks to this issue in both the Cnstruction and General Industry standards:

Belting off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment while working from an aerial lift shall not be permitted.

Belting off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment while working from an aerial lift shall not be permitted.
Posted By: drillman Re: Forklift Baskets - 04/05/05 04:07 AM
I seem to have started something here.

In my situation the problem solved itself. To recap the boss wanted to rent a telescopic boom forklift for a week to do some demo work and for me to use the basket to fix some pole lights.

The demo work took longer than he thought hence no time to fix the pole lights. I also think its not tall enough to reach but we never got to that point.

You see folks, my boss does not have a problem with someone else at the controls. I do, I simply to not trust anyone else to control a machine that might cause me an injury. After all who is paying the price?

Funny thing last year he rented me the manlift I asked for. I got the lights fixed on time, on budget, nobody hurt.

But I guess thats not good enough for him.

I want to thank everyone here for thier input. Both for and against.
Posted By: gideonr Re: Forklift Baskets - 05/08/05 11:42 PM
I side with the don't do it. It's just far too high to go without the proper equipment.

Here in the UK the Health and Safety Executive have threatened to ban these telehandlers from building sites entirely unless the manufacturers improve the operators view of the surroundings. The cab is usually right down low with the boom obscuring the view to one side.
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