8 Important Forklift Best Practices

October 25, 2016

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While time and money mean that productivity and speed are important, safety is always number one when it comes to forklift operation. These eight best practices are ones that can keep your warehouse or on-site work location safe, sane, and efficient. 

  1. Maintenance. Forklifts have a service schedule for a reason, and abiding by the schedule can minimize unexpected breakdowns. Maybe a part looks OK, but if it’s past its use by date, a new one could save you more than the cost of putting it on. Proper maintenance saves time, money, fuel, and expensive parts.
  2. Inspection. A quick check of all basic parts of the forklift before each use is imperative, and this should be followed up with a weekly cleaning to clear debris and dirt from around the radiator to prevent potential overheating. The cab can be cleaned as well and any potential hazards removed.
  3. Prevention. Raising the forks slightly so they don’t drag or scrape the ground can cut down on wear and tear as well as additional fuel waste. The few seconds it takes to raise and lower the fork is well worth it.
  4. Report Issues Promptly. A small problem fixed right away can prevent major issues and even in-operation breakdown on the floor or in the field. A minor issue should never be allowed to turn into a major problem.
  5. Check Hoses. Hydraulic hoses can crack, split, or weep, causing catastrophic failure when levels drop too low. Replaces any damaged hoses at the first sign of trouble and avoid surprises.
  6. Check Tire Wear. If your forklift operators work in a pattern that completes turns always to the right, switch tires out frequently to rotate them and keep wear even. Better yet – rotate forklifts themselves – tires aren’t the only component that can be affected by specific action wear.
  7. Charge Batteries Properly. A routine charging schedule extends the life of each battery and prevents a surprise failure while in use. Discourage frequent “topping up” as this can shorten battery life and force replacement.
  8. Ensure Proper Training. Your forklift operators should always be properly trained and certified, and they will need to renew their certification periodically. Using an untrained operator can cause your insurance company to refuse coverage in case of an accident, so this is a vital step.

Already following some of these guidelines? That’s great. Check to see if there are any you may have missed, and continue running a safe, sane workplace.

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