This is one of the questions which we are frequently asked at Ability Handling; forklift trucks are not really designed to tow as part of their function. Many people have questioned us though because they have found a tow bar or hook situated on their forklift.
Now this does not mean that the forklift should be used to tow a trailer or other vehicle. The reason as to why a forklift may have a tow bar or hook is as a method of assistance should it break down. The hook or tow bar will make it a lot easier for a forklift truck to be recovered.
For health and safety reasons we heavily suggest that you do not use your forklift truck for towing. This is largely due to the fact that that most of the trucks have rear wheel steering and braking on the front wheels only making it highly restrictive.
Ability Handling have come across many incidents involving forklift trucks which have tipped over due to the operator losing control because the forklift truck has been used to tow something. Obviously this can have some extremely serious consequences as well as proving fatal to the operator.
Although there are some forklift trucks which are suitable for use to tow something the advice is to check with the manufacturer before doing so. If you are requiring a machine for towing then a forklift truck isn’t the best option available and we recommend using a machine designed for the purpose, such as the Cushman Tug.