Forklift maintenance and safety tips

on 05 April, 2016

When it comes to keeping your warehouse running smoothly and efficiently there are two key things to consider - worker safety and the maintenance of your forklift trucks. On average, 1,500 forklift related accidents occur every year in the UK alone, usually due to poor training or malfunctions brought about by poor maintenance.

Quite often the two are interlinked, so it’s important to remain vigilant at all times, ensuring that staff aren’t at risk and that machines maintain optimum performance levels.

Warehouses across the globe depend on the speed, efficiency and dependability of forklift trucks to manage their stock, but they’re also one of the main causes of casualties in the workplace, often due to a lack of knowledge or poor training. Whether your staff are going to be dedicated forklift users or simply need the skill from time to time, there are several forklift training courses available that can be adapted to suit most circumstances.

Another way to prevent accidents and get the very best out of your material handling machinery is to undertake regular forklift maintenance checks, increasing lifespans as a result. Operators should also avoid the temptation to get small jobs done quickly by lifting lighter loads with one fork alone - this is more common than you might realise and can lead to problems further down the line, with uneven load bearings due to one fork receiving more wear and tear.

Additionally, the Health and Safety Executive state that a 10% reduction in the original fork thickness means it is time for a replacement, as this equates to at least a 20% reduction in load-bearing capacity.

There are other golden rules that should be followed too, such as not allowing the forklift to ‘tilt’ when it’s lifting and making sure that tires are in good shape. Industrial forklift tires should have a ‘60J’ line, indicating when they are down to their final 100 hours of usage and in need of imminent replacement.

So what should you do when your forklift truck breaks down? It can be extremely tempting to try and fix problems on your own, but this invariably ends up leading to more expensive issues down the line. In fact, if you carry out a quick fix and something happens to the equipment or staff during the repair, your business could be found liable and be forced to pay a hefty fine. It’s always better to return forklift trucks to the manufacturer for the smallest of repairs, even if all that’s required is a minor adjustment. Tampering with forks by welding or drilling will ultimately weaken and make them less effective. Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, but in most cases they can be prevented with some attention to detail and proper maintenance.

For more information on forklift maintenance, visit: LindeAftersales.co.uk.

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