Forklift Maintenance

Forklift Maintenance: Tips & Evaluations

OSHA requires that all forklift operators undergo safety training, which must be renewed every three years. While employers are responsible for ensuring their employees are trained on the specific equipment they use on the job, a general safety training course prior to operating any forklifts is a requirement. KMH provides you with training classes as well as regular maintenance services for your fleet. Staying ahead of the game on safety keeps you running, saves you thousands of dollars in repairs and complies with all the requirements of law you need to stay in business.

Your forklifts need to be regularly serviced; there is no substitute for good maintenance. It ensures forklifts can perform at optimum levels, can detect and rectify minor problems before they affect productivity, and will prolong a forklifts life.

Some Initial Evaluations

  1. Past maintenance work order
  2. Hours of operation
  3. Severity of service
  4. Susceptibility to wear, damage and getting out of adjustment
  5. Service record

It is also helpful to conduct interviews with maintenance personal and operating supervisors who are familiar with the equipment on a daily basis.

Maintenance Schedule

Your maintenance schedule should specify tasks to be performed daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually.

Adherence to your maintenance program will help keep your forklift in good condition, prolong its useful life and minimize downtime and costs associated with major repairs.

Daily Maintenance

Forklift operators should perform daily maintenance at the beginning of each shift. They can visually inspect for leaks, obvious damage, and tire condition, the operation of safety lights, service, parking brakes, horn, and steering. They can then check the mast operation by raising and lowering the forks both with and without a load, and finally check the levels of engine oil, fuel, radiator water and hydraulic fluid. Items to be aware of are:

  1. Lubrication of chassis and mast components
  2. Replacement of engine oil
  3. Cleaning of the air filter element
  4. Adjustment of engine idle speed and ignition timing on engine powered trucks
  5. Inspection of lift and tilt cylinder operation, drive belt tension, and for engine powered trucks, spark plugs, distributor point, cap and rotor

Maintenance Tips

Simply tasks that will keep costs and downtime to a minimum you can enforce on site are easy steps everyone can take to keep the fleet rolling. Some ideas to begin with are:

  1. Keep forklifts clean so it is easier to detect worn or defective parts. Clean with water, not flammable liquids
  2. Use only a trained, qualified person to inspect, maintain or repair forklifts
  3. Use only licensed gas fitters to repair and/or replace parts on LPG forklifts
  4. Establish a procedure for dealing with unsafe or damaged forklifts, including tagging the vehicle and reporting the problem to the appropriate person
  5. Keep all moving parts well lubricated
  6. Keep your forklift charged or fueled
  7. Ensure forklift gauges are functioning properly at all times

For a multiple point inspection and regular maintenance program for your team, KMH offers a ready fleet of techs that can come to you on a regular basis and keep your fleet and team up to speed with your company’s goals.

To learn more how we can work with you so you can focus on your production and products while we keep you going, call: 888-564-7978 or fill-out our request form below:

KMH Forklift Safety

Safety First

With over 145,000 people working in over 7,000 warehouses the potential for hazards is staggering. From the use of unsafe forklifts to inadequate fire safety the fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average of any other industry.

We want to help keep you safe and productive at the same time.

Here are some of the Top Hazards found by OSHA:

Forklift Dangers

Hazard

About 100 employees are killed and 95,000 injured every year while operating forklifts in all industries. Forklift turnovers account for a significant percentage of these fatalities.

Solutions

  • Train, evaluate and certify all operators to ensure that they can operate forklifts safely;
  • Do not allow anyone under 18 years old to operate a forklift;
  • Properly maintain haulage equipment, including tires;
  • Before using a forklift, examine it for hazardous conditions which would make it unsafe to operate;
  • Follow safe procedures for picking up, putting down and stacking loads;
  • Drive safely, never exceeding 5 mph and slow down in congested areas or those with slippery surfaces;
  • Ensure that the operator wears a seatbelt installed by the manufacturer;
  • Never drive up to a person standing in front of a fixed object such as a wall or stacked materials;
  • Prohibit stunt driving and horseplay;
  • Do not handle loads that are heavier than the weight capacity of the forklift;
  • Remove unsafe or defective trucks from service until the defect is properly repaired;
  • Maintain sufficiently safe clearances for aisles and at loading docks or passages where forklifts are used;
  • Ensure adequate ventilation either by opened doors/windows or using a ventilation system to provide enough fresh air to keep concentrations of noxious gases from engine exhaust below acceptable limits;
  • Provide covers and/or guardrails to protect workers from the hazards of open pits, tanks, vats and ditches;
  • Train employees on the hazards associated with the combustion byproducts of forklift operation, such as carbon monoxide.


Docks

Hazard

Injuries happen here when forklifts run off the dock, products fall on employees or equipment strikes a person.

Solutions

  • Drive forklifts slowly on docks and dock plates;
  • Secure dock plates and check to see if the plate can safely support the load;
  • Keep clear of dock edges and never back up forklifts to the dock’s edge;
  • Provide visual warnings near dock edges;
  • Prohibit “dock jumping” by employees;
  • Make sure that dock ladders3. Electrical, wiring methods


Conveyors

Hazard

Workers can be injured when they are caught in pinch points or in the in-going nip points, are hit by falling products or develop musculoskeletal disorders associated with awkward postures or repetitive motions.

Solutions

  • Inspect conveyors regularly;
  • Ensure that pinch points are adequately guarded;
  • Develop ways of locking out conveyors and train employees in these procedures;
  • Provide proper lighting and working surfaces in the area surrounding the conveyor.


Charging Stations

Hazard

Fires and explosion risks are possible unless proper guidelines are followed.

Solutions

  • Prohibit smoking and open flames in and around charging stations;
  • Provide adequate ventilation to disperse fumes from gassing batteries;
  • Ensure that fire extinguishers are available and fully charged;
  • Provide proper personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves and eye and face protection;
  • Properly position forklifts and apply brakes before attempting to change or charge batteries; follow required procedures when refueling gas or propane fueled forklifts;
  • Provide conveyors, overhead hoists or equivalent materials handling equipment for servicing batteries;
  • Provide an eye washing and safety shower facility for employees exposed to battery acids.


Poor Ergonomics

Hazard

Improper lifting, repetitive motion or poor design of operations can lead to musculoskeletal disorders in workers.

Solutions

  • If possible, use powered equipment instead of requiring a manual lift for heavy materials;
  • Reduce lifts from shoulder height and from floor height by repositioning the shelf or bin;
  • Ensure overhead lighting is adequate for the task at hand;
  • Provide employees with task-oriented ergonomic training;
  • Use your legs and keep your back in a natural position while lifting;
  • Test the load to be lifted to estimate its weight, size and bulk, and to determine the proper lifting method;
  • Get help if the load exceeds the maximum weight a person can lift safely without assistance;
  • Don’t twist while carrying a load, but shift your feet and take small steps in the direction you want to turn;
  • Keep floors clean and free of slip and trip hazards.

In every facility safety training should not be taken lightly. It is imperative not only to your own safety, but to your coworkers’ as well. At KMH we offer safety training and any equipment checks and repairs you need. Call 888-564-7978 for your free operational audit so we can help you keep everyone safe.

Request Your FREE Operational Audit…

Forklift Operator Training

Benefits of Operator Training

There is a distinct difference between teaching someone safe forklift operation and truly training them how to perform the function safely and effectively. KMH gives the highest level of in-depth training for you and your operators in order to keep everyone safe and in alignment with all regulations.

Proper training will also lower your costs in terms of less damage to your products,to your facility, and to operator injury. We teach you how to see small maintenance issues and fixing them before become big ones. Knowing proper methods of operating a forklift also results in less wear and tear on your equipment. All of this results in equipment that stays in better condition for a longer period of time, an increase in useful life of your forklifts, and lower operating costs.

OSHA and ANSI have requirements regarding forklifts. Ultimately it is up to you, the employer, to see that your operators and fleet managers are aware of the regulations and that your company is in compliance.

Operators that receive ongoing training are more efficient at operating your forklifts. This efficiency translates into more productive employees. Improved morale and efficiency gained from training will increase how much work each of your operators can accomplish in a day, and that improves your bottom line.
These best practices decrease the likelihood of injuries to operators and damage to equipment and property.

When observing an operator using material handling equipment, ask the following:

  • Is the driver wearing a seat belt?
  • Is the operator driving at safe speeds?
  • Does the driver sound the horn when approaching blind spots, end of aisles or backing up?
  • When transporting a load, is the load 6” to 10” off of the floor?
  • Is the driver’s visibility blocked?
  • Does the operator use a spotter when the load is blocking his visibility?

Companies that do not emphasize safety and ongoing training of their drivers are easy to spot with this quick observation.

KMH continually strives to educate our customers about lift truck operation, safety, and industrial regulations for both ANSI and OSHA. With proper forklift training, you can reduce your downtime due to improper operation and provide effective timely maintenance/repair of your lift truck fleet. We provide a range of forklift training classes at progressive levels to meet your needs!

Request More Information On Our Operator Training Programs…