Order picker trainees need to know how these vehicles differ from other forklifts if they are to operate order pickers safely. This article discusses some of the ways through which order pickers differ from ordinary forklifts. These differences lead operators to need slightly different skills from forklift operators.
Many order pickers lift the operator as he or she picks items from shelving. Consequently, operators of these vehicles are required to wear body belts that can reduce the impact of any fall that they are involved in during their work. Ordinary forklifts lifts don't lift the operator, so there is no need for a body belt.
Ordinary forklifts rely on three points of suspension (wheels). This makes them less stable during turns. Order pickers have four points of suspension. Consequently, the vehicle is capable of taking sharper turns when compared to forklifts. This means that an order picker operator needs to exercise a lot of caution to avoid hitting obstructions during sharp turns.
Direction of Travel
Forklifts can travel forwards or backwards. The direction of travel is normally dictated by the size of the load that is being carried. For instance, the operator can travel in reverse if the load is so big that it obscures his or her view. However, order pickers usually travel in a forward direction only because loads are carried behind the operator. Thus, there is no need to change the direction of travel due to the size of loads.
Forklift operators are told to avoid moving the vehicle when the load is raised. This is because the forklift can topple due to its raised center of gravity if the pallet/platform is up. However, order pickers can be moved when the platform on which the load and operator are standing is raised. Trainee operators are given the specific precautions that they should take when turning or moving with a raised platform.
Ordinary forklifts rely on the operator to decide how they travel. However, order pickers usually have guidance systems, such as rail tracks or guide wires that restrict how they move. The operator only controls at which point the vehicle leaves the guidance system in order to access different shelves or aisles.
As you can see, the differences between ordinary forklifts and order pickers mean that different skillsets are needed to operate each of those vehicles. It is therefore advisable for you to enroll in a reputable training facility so that you can receive comprehensive training about the unique requirements of operating each of those vehicles.