If you own, operate or hire a forklift truck on a regular basis then there are a number of daily checks you should make to ensure its safe operation. After all, a properly functioning forklift will guarantee your lifting vehicle is ready to go for yet another challenging day of hard work ahead. As a forklift operator is your duty to carry out all necessary maintenance tasks and report any dubious signs to your supervisor or forklift truck provider.
Each of the following maintenance checks should be carried out first thing in the morning, before the day’s work, to ensure you forklift is running smoothly and safely.
The Forklifting Device
If your forklift device is faulty it is not only unproductive for your business, it is also a safety hazard for your staff. Therefore it is vitally important that you check the lift mechanism once a day for signs of cracks or chips around the carriage teeth.
If everything looks okay, test the performance of your machine by raising the forks to the maximum height and lowering them back down again slowly. Listen out for any unusual sounds and ensure the forks rise/lower smoothly without pausing. Use this opportunity to also test the tilting mechanism for similar features.
The brake system of your forklift truck is a hugely important safety feature that simply must be in excellent working condition before and during operation. If you are transporting heavy goods and your brakes should fail, this can pose a huge safety threat to all those in the close surrounding area.
Just like any other vehicle, it is important to regularly test your brakes to see if they are working at optimum performance. First check the foot brake by applying pressure to it; a working foot brake should not need too much pressure applied to it for it to respond. Lastly, check your parking brake to ensure the vehicle will not move when you need to stop. For each type of brake it’s also important to check if your brake lights are working too.
At the start of each day it is well worth taking your forklift truck for a little spin, without any load, to ensure the steering works properly. After all, the manoeuvrability of your forklift relies heavily on the responsiveness of your steering system. This check is particularly beneficial if you are about to drive on a different surface type that you haven’t experienced before.
Check the steering going both forwards and backwards and pay particular attention to the way the steering wheel responds to your commands. If you find that you are putting way more force into the steering wheel as you are used to, this could indicate any number of issues; including low tyre pressure, bad wheel alignment or even friction in the gearbox. If this is the case contact your mechanic or forklift truck provider immediately.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
Steering, braking and forklift operation are the three most important safety checks you should be making on a daily basis. Besides this tough, as an operator you should also exercise professional judgement and keep your eyes and ears open to detect any other signs of mechanical issues. If you spot something you haven’t seen before, or your vehicle is beginning to make an unusual noise, refrain from using the vehicle again until you have identified and rectified any potential problems.