Forklift Fork Inspection and Safety
If your business hasn’t been running during Michigan’s lockdown period, you’ll need to get your material handling equipment back in shape to run at full capacity. Aside from ensuring that the mechanics of your trucks are functioning properly, we’d like to bring some attention to another integral part of your equipment. When is the last time you inspected your forklifts’ forks? Keeping them in optimal shape is essential to the safe and efficient operation of your forklift fleet.
Forks are one of the most used items on a forklift and businesses are often not aware of their forks’ condition or quality. This useful forklift fork inspection guide will help you avoid pitfalls once you begin ramping up production.
First, let’s become familiar with basic fork terminology: Back, Heel, Blade, Taper, Tip
- Wear — The material wear on the heel area of the forks cannot exceed 10% of the original section of the fork. Capacity of the fork is drastically reduced due to material wear.
- Surface cracks — Attention to all welds and internal heel area. Forks should be replaced if surface cracks are detected.
- Blade deflection or tip height — The difference of tip heights cannot exceed 3% of the blade length.
- Heel angle opening — The internal angle of the fork heel cannot exceed 93°.
- Marking legibility and Suspension devices — Fork identification according to ISO 2330 should be easily legible. In case of missing or unclear marking, the fork should be removed from service. Check if forks are securely locked to the equipment carriage. If there is extra clearance or damaged attachments, the forks should be repaired.
According to ISO 5057, forks must be inspected at least once a year by a trained professional. Fraza recommends the frequency as follows:
- For operations with 1 shift (up to 8 hours per day) = at least every 12 months.
- For operations with 2 shifts (up to 16 hours per day) = at least every 6 months.
- For operations with 3 shifts (up to 24 hours per day) = at least every 3 months.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
The points below will significantly reduce the life of your forks:
- Handling loads above the forks’ capacity
- Using only one fork to handle loads
- Applying side pressure/force on the forks
- Dragging the forks on the ground
- Making unauthorized repairs or modification to the forks
- Using the forks as a lever or crowbar to separate loads
- Using the forks to push or pull dragging loads
- Adding fork extensions longer than 150% of the fork original blade length
When to Repair and Replace Your Forks
Forks that are damaged or in disrepair can be dangerous.
- Defective forks should be promptly replaced or repaired to maintain the maximum safety and performance of your forklift.
- Fork repairs can only be performed by the fork manufacturer, or a certified company.
- Be sure to replace both forks, do not just replace a single fork.
Be sure to contact us if you have any issues with your forks. We can inspect them for you and order replacements when needed.