When is the right time to replace your forks?
Using a forklift with worn-out forks can be a tremendous hazard in your business. It’s just a matter of time before bad forks can give way and damage your product, your facility, or worst of all-cause an accident with injury. There are OSHA requirements for all powered industrial trucks to be inspected daily or at the end of shift if your forklift is operated on a 24/7 basis.
Improper use by individuals can also cause damage to your forklift forks and truck. Preventative action, in this case, should be dealt with in proper forklift training by a certified trainer.
Inspection of Your Forklift Forks
- Normal Wear and Tear –The metal on a fork gradually wears down with use over time. Use a special fork caliper tool to measure the heel and blade for wear. If the wear reaches 10% it should be replaced. Just 10% wear decreases the capacity of the lift truck by 20%.
- Cracks on the Fork Surface –Inspect each fork’s top and bottom for surface cracks. Pay close attention to the heel and the welded areas that attach the forks to the lift truck. Cracks require replacement.
- Bending of the Blade and Shank –If either the shank or the blade has any bend more than 93 degrees, the forks must be replaced. Don’t try to fix it by bending it back into position. This is a dangerous and unstable solution.
- Forks are Uneven –If the difference in the height of each fork tip exceeds 3% of the length of the blade, you will need to replace both forks.
Replacing the Forklift Forks
If your forklift inspection reveals damage or excessive wear, replace them both. Failure to do so will cause the load to be uneven and possibly cause the lift truck to tip over. Uneven loads also put stress on the mast and other components of the lift truck.
If you also want to learn more about pallet jacks, consider reading our Electric And Manual Pallet Jacks Guide.