There is a lot of pressure on your forklift, literally and figuratively. They handle an immense load, so if one breaks while in use, it could cause a loss in production and a workplace injury or damage to your property. ANSI standards require forks to be inspected at least once per year, for single shift operations, and OSHA requires all powered industrial trucks, including forks, be examined daily or after each shift. Following these regulations and performing regular forklift maintenance are crucial.
Here are some things to look for when inspecting your forklift:
Thickness of forks (should be measured with calipers)
Forks wear down slowly, but they will eventually wear down enough that they can’t handle their original capacity. A 10% wear can reduce load capacity by 20%. At this point, forks must be replaced!
Each fork should be inspected from end to end. Pay close attention to the heel and the welded areas attaching the forks to the lift truck. If you can see cracks, forks need to be replaced.
Forklift tips should be at about the same height. If the difference between the height of each tip exceeds 3% of the length of your blade, then the forks need to be replaced.
Inspect the positioning lock and fork retention devices to be sure they are working properly.
If the blade or shank are bent, the fork is no longer usable and should be replaced.
If an inspection reveals damage or excessive wear, the forks should always be replaced in pairs. Failing to replace in pairs will cause loads to be uneven and potentially cause the forklift to tip over. Uneven loads can also put unnecessary strain on the mast and other components of the forklift.
If you have further questions about your forklift or forklift maintenance, please contact your local Hugg & Hall Service Department or fill out a contact form, and one of our team members will get back to you shortly!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017. We updated it for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in February 2023.