A forklift is only as good as its driver – and its forklift fork.
A skilled and experienced driver can maneuver a forklift quickly and safely as he loads and unloads items in and out of fleet of trucks and warehouse.
But without a well-constructed and sturdy fork, the forklift and its driver won’t be able to safely load/unload items.
Many people understandably make the mistake of thinking the fork will remain as strong as ever as the weeks and months go by. After all, the forklift truck keeps on keeping on; why shouldn’t its fork?
But forks wear quickly – particularly their bottoms — and it’s smart to replace them when they exhibit as little as just 10 percent wear!
It’s critical to inspect all forks on all forklift trucks regularly to check for:
• Cracks in the fork’s surface
• A crooked/bent shank or blade
• Wear in the fork’s hangers (the parts that attach the fork to the forklift truck)
• A broken positioning lock
• Fork tips of differing heights
• Wear on the fork blade, shank or hooks
• You can’t make out fork markings.
• Check the fork’s thickness; the thinner it gets the less it can hold (remember the 10 percent wear rule, above)
Should you find any of these issues, do not operate the forklift. The forks bear the weight of the load and if not in proper working order, or damaged in some other way could potentially lead to an accident.
In fact, many forks are used for work they really shouldn’t be used for. Why? Because – again – we tend to think of them as indestructible. After all, they carry such heavy loads and they certainly look exceptionally sturdy.
• Picked up a load you knew was too heavy for the fork’s load rating.
• Picked up a load that was too far out on the forks themselves.
• Added an attachment to the truck that put stress on the forks.
• Used the forks to open the doors of rail cars.
• Used the forks to break loads out or away from other loads.
• Picked up off-balance loads.
• Collided with a wall or column. You didn’t notice any bend to the forks, so you kept on using them, but even an undiscernible bend is damage.
If you’ve ever done any of the above, make an effort to never to so again!
When in great condition, a forklift’s fork can load:
• Material for construction sites
• Pallets filled with products to be shipped
• Unloading recycling trucks and containers at recycling centers
• Loading and unloading ships and barges at large shipping ports.
• And more.
The ways one can use a forklift are exceedingly varied. The critical thing to remember is to make sure the forklift fork is in great condition before moving to lift anything with it.