Did you know, 29% of independently-inspected forks fail safety standards? Your forklift forks might appear indestructible, however after regular use they will start to become worn out and unsafe.
A simple visual inspection is not enough to determine if a fork is safe to use. the ANSI/ITSDF B-561 standards requre that forks must be inspected at least once per calendar year. OSHA also requires all powered industrial trucks, including forks, be examined daily or after each shift if the forklifts are utilized 24/7.
Unfortunately it can be easy to skip inspections which can lead to a snapped fork, dropped load and could lead to injuries or even death. How can you prevent such costly and unfortunate situations? Read on for more information.
Regular use causes forks to bend, crack, or wear down over time. Forks can also be damaged by:
- Improper adjustments to the chain
- Accidents (running into walls, columns, etc).
- Overloading forks beyond their rated capacity.
Want to see if your truck/forks are working beyond their capacity, try this online calculator which can also account for attachments.
How to Inspect Forklift Forks
- Check the angle of the shank and blade - If the shank and blade angle exceed 93 degrees, the fork must be replaced. Do not allow machine shops to bend forks back into place!
- Ensure blade and shank are straight - If the shank or the blade are bent, the fork can no longer be used.
- Inspect for surface cracks - Check the entire surface of each fork for cracks.
Pro Tip: the heel area and welds are most likely place for cracks to develop.
- Check height of fork tip - The tips of your two forklift blades should be at roughly the same height. If the difference between the height of each tips exceeds three percent of the length of the blade, the forks need to be replaced. For example, if your for forklift blade is 48-inches long, the difference in height between the two forklift blade cannot exceed 1.44 inches.
- Check the positioning lock - Ensure the positioning lock and other fork retention devices are working properly.
- Measure thickness with calipers - The metal on a fork wears down slowly, but eventually the forks can no longer handle their original load capacity. Just 10% wear reduces load capacity by 20%, at which point the forks must be replaced. Using forklift calipers, measure the thickness of your fork blade, heel and hook using the shaft as a starting place.
Inspect fork hooks - Using calipers, check for wear and also straightness of fork hooks. If the lip of the hook touches the back of the caliper, the forks must be removed from service.
We hope this article contained helpful information. If you have any questions or would like us to inspect your forks for you please contact our service department. We also offer forklift safety training which is required by OSHA for forklift operators.
Forklift Fork Inspection Guide
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