What is a forklift jib boom and what it is used for?
A forklift jib boom is an attachment designed to fit onto straight mast and extendable-reach type forklifts to lift and move suspended loads, most typically over or under obstacles.
A forklift job boom has a hook and shackle at the end of the jib for easy attachment to the load. Jib booms are available both in fixed and extendable lengths. Fixed-length jib booms are best for repetitive lift tasks where load and reach adjustments are not needed. For example, repetitive work in the rental yard. Extendable-length jib booms, also known as telescopic jib booms, are best used when the load, location and lift height regularly changes such as on construction sites.
Forklift jib booms are perfect for lifting and moving awkward, heavy, suspended loads more suited to the lifting action of a crane. This can be anything from mechanical equipment, materials or anything requiring a vertical lift through a second floor opening or on top of a building in construction.
What is a suspended load?
Essentially, anything that is lifted off the ground is considered a suspended load.
The primary OSHA standard regulation detailing safe suspended load operation falls under the general industry standard 1910 in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, “Occupational Safety and Health Standards,” Subpart N, “Materials Handling and Storage,” specifically section 29 CFR 1910.179, “Overhead and Gantry Cranes.”
Many forklift operators are under the mis-understanding that OSHA’s Overhead and Gantry Cranes regulations do not apply to them when lifting loads.
Though it is true general forklift operations fall under the different OSHA standard 1910.178, “Powered Industrial Trucks,” those regulations are superseded by regulations 1910.179 if the operator uses the forklift with a factory-made or plant-made boom with a hook to perform crane-like tasks.
The OSHA regulation states:
“If an operator uses a factory-made or plant-made boom with a hook, chain or sling attachment then the lifting action has been defined within OSHA as a crane activity and falls under the corresponding crane requirements”.
For this reason, it is important to include an explanation of OSHA provisions on overhead crane use in your operational jib boom safety plan.
Jib boom working load limits
It’s important to understand a jib boom attachment moves the center of gravity of the combined forklift and load forward. This load shift will change the load center and therefore an operator must use a de-rated load chart provided by the manufacturers of both the forklift and attachment manufacturer. Another factor to consider is that rated load capacities decrease when the jib boom is in an extended position, when the mast is tilted forward, or when the boom is extended with telehandlers.
A properly engineered and manufactured jib boom will have undergone extensive tests to calculate safe capacity load limits at the various boom lengths. These will be stated both in the operator’s manual and on the jib boom manufacturer’s plate. The stated load capacity limit must never be exceeded.
Typically speaking, a jib boom’s load capacity will decrease with each extension of the boom. This change of load lift based on boom extension is known as a de-rated load capacity. You should be able to get a de-rated load capacity for your jib boom from the manufacturer or a certified professional engineer.
The table below is an example of a de-rated load capacity chart.