Forklifts lift thousands of pounds each shift and unchecked wear can cause a load to come crashing to the ground. This can result in severe damage to property, or even the death of an employee. That’s one reason OSHA requires a daily inspection of each lift truck in operation. Below are some specific areas to inspect to help ensure forks are in safe operating order:
Rated Load Capacity
Are the forks rated to carry the loads they are handling?
Inspect each fork top and bottom for surface cracks. Pay close attention to the heel area and the welds to the areas that attach the forks to the lift truck. These areas are most likely to develop cracks. If a crack is found, the fork must be replaced before the lift truck is put back into service. OSHA does not permit a damaged fork to be repaired.
Straightness of the Blade & Shank
If either the shank or the blade has any sort of bend, the fork must be replaced before the lift truck is put back into service.
If the shank and blade angle exceed 93 degrees, the fork must be replaced before the lift truck is put back into service.
Fork Tip Height Variances
If the fork tips exceed 3 percent of the length of the blade, the forks need to be replaced before the lift truck is put back into service. For example, for 48-inch forks, the differences in the heights of the tips of your blades cannot exceed 1.44 inches.
If the positioning lock is inoperable, it must be replaced before the fork is put back into service on the lift truck.
Use calipers to measure the heel and the blade for wear. These are the areas that wear most quickly. Once wear reaches 10 percent, the fork must be replaced. Ten percent wear results in a 20 percent reduction in rated fork capacity and represents a significant exposure for accident.