Waiting too long to replace worn-out forklift forks will eventually lead to a dropped load and damaged product, and that’s the best-case scenario. A snapped or bent fork can also cause deadly accidents. Since forklift truck accidents consistently rank as the number- one cause of workplace fatalities, this is a critical safety check that shouldn’t be ignored.

Inspect and Replace

The good news is that this type of accident is easily preventable. Regular fork inspections can ensure your forklift forks get replaced before they create a hazard.

Everything you do to promote safety in your plant and all your forklift maintenance work will be for naught if this simple, common item is overlooked. It’s where the proverbial “rubber meets the road” and a fraction of an inch can spell the difference. Imagine a little bit of unnoticed wear reducing the capacity of a 5,000lb. Capacity forklift truck to 4,000 lbs. while your operator is flying around the warehouse with a 5,000 lb. load!

The Issues

1. More than 10 percent wear - The metal on a fork gradually wears down. Just ten percent wear can reduce load capacity by 20 percent.

2. If the shank or the blade are bent - If bent more than 93 degrees, replace the fork(s). Bending the fork back into place is not a fix. It is a dangerous cosmetic repair

3. Surface cracks - They typically appear in the heel area and around welds.

4. Bent or worn fork hooks - If the lip of the hook touches the back of the caliper, the fork(s) must be replaced.

5. Uneven blade height - The tips of both forklift blades should be at (roughly) the same height.

The primary cause of fork wear on lift trucks is worn lift chains. Notice I didn’t say “stretched” lift chains. There is a common misconception that lift chains “stretch.” But what is perceived as stretching is really wear. As lift chains wear and become longer, the forks can drag on the floor causing wear. Excessive chain wear alone poses the safety hazard of chains breaking. But together these two often neglected but easily checked and remedied safety items can create a “double whammy” safety condition with potentially dire consequences. More than “three percent elongation or wear” translates to a fifteen percent reduction in chain strength, which is again a de-facto reduction in lifting capacity.

Operator Issues

On a side note that ties into one of our previous posts is that operators are often the ones causing fork wear by dragging forks as they drive, usually without a load. The forks should be raised slightly and/or the mast tilted back so fork heels clear the floor and don’t drag on long warehouse runs. Keep an eye on those operators!

Identify and Eliminate Safety Hazards

The service professionals at Accurate Lift Truck are trained and indoctrinated in identifying and eliminating safety hazards on your lift trucks. These two common but impactful safety checks are performed regularly during scheduled maintenance and routine repairs. But these two areas are so critical and so often overlooked that we frequently conduct targeted safety campaigns to raise awareness of these two critical, interrelated safety items. From now until the end of the year our technicians will be applying their expert eyes, gauges, and calipers to forks and lift chains all across the region as we go about our regular maintenance and repairs. We want end users and customers to have all the information they need to make informed decisions about maintenance and safety.

Accurate Lift Truck has Thirty-Five years of experience servicing and maintaining all the various makes and models of forklift trucks. Accurate Lift Truck has some of the best factory-trained forklift technicians in the business and they fix it all!

Accurate Lift Truck, Inc.

Learn more: http://accuratelift.com/
Contact Accurate Lift Truck at
(856) 767-2122 | (267) 373-9606 | info@accuratelift.com

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