For years, boxy, unstable forklifts and equally-cumbersome yard dogs were the only available methods of moving trailers, tanks and other heavy equipment. Even when safer, better-designed, less expensive, walk-behind caddies started coming on the market, the hefty purchase price and considerable maintenance investment forklifts required encouraged their continued use. Of course, until recently, walk-behind caddies did not have the power or design capacity to lift the extraordinary weights involved in many heavy-equipment applications. But with the recent development of heavy-duty, motorized, walk-behind trailer and heavy equipment caddies capable of lifting 15,000-pound trailer tongues and moving 50,000-pound loads has allowed more options for heavy-duty needs.
Not only is convenience and price now an important factor in why many are selecting these new generation heavy-duty walk-behind caddies, but improving worker protection has been a concern for warehouse and yard operation managers. In a job risk rating report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked “forklift operator” among high-risk jobs. Forklift operators have a 52% chance of being injured on the job. Every year forklift-related accidents kill nearly 100 U.S. workers and seriously injure another 20,000, according to NIOSH report (the most-recent statistics available). The greatest number of forklift-related fatalities is caused by vehicles overturning. Pedestrian workers struck or crushed by forklifts account for more than a third of forklift deaths and the majority of forklift-related workplace injuries. Given the dangers forklift trucks pose in the workplace, it is no wonder that heavy equipment and cargo/tank trailer manufacturers, distribution centers, truck and trailer maintenance facilities, defense and government agencies, and other businesses that maintain large trailer fleets have been seeking safer material handling alternatives.
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