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7 ways to keep workers safe with forklift maintenance

3/3/2021

7 ways to keep workers safe with forklift maintenance

A forklift or similar piece of heavy equipment is likely vital to how you get things done within your warehouse, and it's important that you give these machines the attention they need. That's not only true because it helps ensure they keep running at their peak capacity for many years to come, but also because even a single failure while in use can put the driver and others around it in potentially dangerous situations.

With that in mind, you need to be more proactive and strategic about how you approach forklift maintenance in your warehouse. That includes the following:

1) Start with the tire pressure

The simplest aspect of proper forklift maintenance to manage is checking whether the tires are in good shape, according to Certify Me. All it takes is a visual inspection and, if something looks off, the use of a tire gauge to see if the pressure is where it ought to be. This is the kind of thing that should be done daily.

2) Check the signals

What's another daily inspection that doesn't take too much effort? Ensuring all lights, backup alerts and so on are fully working, Certify Me advised. Flick a few switches, see that everything is in good order, and replace or repair anything that isn't. It's simple but necessary, every single day.

3) Set up a schedule

There is, of course, a difference between maintenance steps you should be taking on a daily basis and the more in-depth work you need to do in the long term, according to Safeopedia. For that, you would be wise to set up a maintenance schedule if you haven't already done so, to ensure it's getting a thorough once-over from a trained professional at least a few times a year.

4) Check the service record

Of course, you should have been doing at least some work on your forklift throughout the years you've already had it, and if you have records of those efforts, you should consult them, Safeopedia noted. This will help you determine the right level of attention the machine needs, and potentially also reveal problems that weren't previously noticed or documented.

5) Tailor to how it's used

Along similar lines, you might also need to consider whether your current use cases for the forklift are aligned with maintenance needs, Safeopedia added. For instance, if the machine spends a lot of time exposed to the elements or otherwise gets a different kind of wear and tear than it did a few years ago, you may need to change your approach to maintenance.

6) Think of it like a car

If you're now scheduling regular maintenance for your vehicle, you might want to consider that there are some components that may need extra attention, or even replacement, according to EHS Daily Advisor. Just like a car, your forklift's components have a shelf life and the time may come when, say, brakes get squishy or the oil needs to be changed.

7) Be aware of potentially hazardous materials

Finally, when you're making more complicated repairs or quick fixes, it's vital that the people doing them are aware of potential risk, EHS Daily Advisor said. There may be many hazardous materials, including asbestos in some older components, to which they may be exposed.