The counterbalance forklift truck is the most common and versatile lift truck used in industry in warehouses and out on the yard unloading vehicles. Powered by battery, gas or diesel depending on the environment it is to be used in – for example, electric would be used indoors due to the fumes from the other types but wouldn’t be ideal outside due to the inclement weather we have. Businesses with large warehouses might have a counterbalance and reach truck. Using the counterbalance to unload from the wagon and bring inside the warehouse.

Reach trucks are designed predominantly for warehouse operation. They offer maximum lift height with excellent manoeuvrability.

The name refers to the ability of the fork carriage to ‘reach’ out beyond the stabilising legs and therefore ‘reach’ into racking. The combination of this reach capability and the stabilising legs means reach trucks can lift to great heights (in excess of 10 metres) while still operating in very tight working environments.

The stabilising legs and batteries within a reach truck negate the need for any counterbalance weight within the truck construct.

Training in the safe use of a counterbalance/reach truck is most important to all operators. Operators should be trained to a level of skill essential to work with counterbalance and reach trucks safely, efficiently and with competence. By the end of the course the operator should understand the reasons for operators training, and pass a basic operator skills test as set out in the HSE publication Rider-Operated Lift Trucks, Approved Code of Practice, (L117).

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