Primarily, fork lift trucks are intended for lifting materials and not people. People should never be lifted on the forks or on a pallet, or something similar, balanced on the forks because they can easily fall off.
However, for planned work, lift trucks can be used with integrated working platforms to allow people to work at height. There are two types of platforms available for lift trucks:
Integrated working platforms which are attachments with controls that are linked to and isolate the truck controls so that only a person in the platform can control the lift height of the platform and truck movements.
Non-integrated working platforms are attachments with no controls in the platform, so a person in the platform cannot control the lift height of the platform or move the lift truck. All lift truck and platform movements are controlled by the truck operator.
It is generally accepted that, in conjunction with a forklift truck, an integrated working platform provides a higher level of safety than a non-integrated type. Nevertheless, a non-integrated working platform may be used in exceptional circumstances for ‘occasional unplanned use’, such as non-routine maintenance tasks. These are tasks that would otherwise be carried out using a less safe means of access such as ladders, because it is impractical to hire in purpose-designed people-lifting equipment due to the short duration and occasional nature of the task. A good example would be checking on high-level damage to racking suspected of causing an immediate risk or checking on the condition of damaged roof lights. However, routine or planned tasks such as periodic maintenance or stocktaking, are not exceptional circumstances and are not examples of occasional unplanned use.
The L117 guidance notes state that “Lift trucks fitted with non-integrated working platforms are not suitable for stock checking, order picking, routine maintenance or the transfer of goods or people form one level to another. However, stocktaking within cold stores is currently permitted using non-integrated platforms, due to the lack of an effective alternative.