Forklift training requires a thorough knowledge of how a forklift operates. Not only will a trainee need to know how to drive the forklift, but they’ll need to know how to take care of it too. This includes knowing how to perform a daily inspection, in addition to knowing how to spot the telltale signs a forklift needs to be repaired. This guide to the many signs of forklift damage will help you teach employees how to spot these hazards in the workplace at all times.
One of the most noticeable signs that a forklift is in need of repairs is leaking fluid. If an operator notices any signs of leaks occurring inside or beneath the forklift, you must remove the vehicle from service and administer repairs as soon as possible. Two of the most common leaks you’ll encounter during forklift operating procedures are hydraulic fluid and oil.
This is one of the many reasons that forklift operators must be aware of their surroundings at all times while behind the wheel of the forklift. This will help them spot hazards not just next to or in front of them, but behind them as well, such as a trail of leaking fluid or oil. If anything begins leaking from your forklift, it can become a hazard for any employees and machines nearby. To avoid anyone slipping on the leak, clean it up, and fix the equipment immediately.
When carrying out inspections, one of the many areas forklifts operators must keep a close eye on is hydraulic hoses. These hoses deliver hydraulic fluid to many parts of the forklift and they can break down over an extended period of time. If hydraulic hoses are beginning to crack, bend, or simply look brittle, it’s time to replace them. If cracks begin appearing on the hydraulic hose, this can lead to hydraulic fluid leaking out. If this happens, debris can get into the forklift’s hydraulic system and cause damage to the forklift. NOTE: Never check for leaks by hand. Hydraulic fluid can be under pressure of between 1,000 and 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Fluid under this pressure can penetrate the skin, necessitating immediate medical attention.
Any visible emissions coming from the exhaust pipe are another clear sign that a forklift needs maintenance. If an operator ever spots an excessive amount of black or white smoking coming from the exhaust pipe, immediate repairs are necessary before the forklift can resume operations. Other emissions from the forklift exhaust pipe that operators need to keep an eye out for include sparks or flames.
If an operator encounters this issue while operating a forklift, it should be taken as another clear sign that immediate repairs are necessary. Per OSHA guidelines, if a forklift is not in a safe operating condition, you must remove it from service so it can go undergo the necessary repairs.
Tires are beneath the forklift, which means they endure a lot of stress during operating hours. Monitoring forklift tires is important because working with worn tires can lead to accidents while carrying out tasks. To avoid any injuries or property damage in the workplace, employees must know how to properly monitor forklift tire integrity.
For instance, even when a forklift is properly taken care of, the tires will begin wearing down over time. That’s why your forklift tires have a visual marker to indicate excessive wear; the 50% wear line. Before an operator begins working with a forklift, make sure they know how to spot the 50% wear line. If this line is visible on your forklift tires, it means that immediate replacements are necessary.
Another clear indicator of excessively worn tires is chunking. As the name suggests, chunking occurs when large chunks of rubber begin peeling off of the tires. Immediate replacements are still necessary in this situation even if the tires haven’t worn down to that 50% wear line. This is the case not just for chunking, but also for any kind of tears or holes you or an operator notices upon inspection.
Similar to the forklift’s tires and hydraulic hoses, the forks will also begin showing visible wear over time. The forks on a forklift must remain strong and intact to ensure effective control of loads while transporting them from place to place. The forks will also need to effectively lift loads to the necessary heights, a function that operators can ensure by carrying out proper inspections and maintenance procedures on a regular basis.
When inspecting forks for damage, some telltale signs are any visible bends or cracks on the surface. Visible damage such as cracks and bends on a fork is an immediate cause for repairs, but there are a few other important signs to look out for as well. If the forks look uneven or show signs of poor position locking, then it’s time to take the forklift off the floor and out of service so repairs can be made.
Having a functional and accurate brake system is important for any forklift. With the help of braking, operators can maneuver forklifts around a facility with safety and ease. However, any signs of damage to the brakes call for immediate repairs to be made to the vehicle just like many of the issues on this list. Just like operating a car with faulty brakes, driving a forklift with faulty brakes is dangerous and can create a workplace hazard for you and any nearby employees.
An operator can notice signs of brake wear or malfunction if they hear any grinding sounds when applying pressure to the brake. Another obvious sign of the need for repairs is if the brakes jam or fail entirely. Scary occurrences like brake failure can happen if operators do not perform proper maintenance or inspections when necessary.
If you ensure all the forklift operators in your facility are aware of the signs a forklift needs to be repaired, they’ll be able to operate these machines as safely and as efficiently as possible. When it comes to proper forklift training, not only is it required by law, but it’s also necessary for keeping your employees out of harm’s way. At First Quality Forklift Training, we provide an assortment of training kits for forklift education, including narrow aisle forklift training. With the proper training, you can ensure your employees are as ready as can be to safely operate and maneuver forklifts in your facility.