Proper Forklift Maintenance to Increase Operator Safety

Proper Forklift Maintenance to Increase Operator Safety

Forklift maintenance is important – and often overlooked. While many mistakes are the result of not paying attention, a lot of accidents are caused by a forklift not performing up to standards. Accidents can certainly be avoided by performing regular maintenance checks.

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) classifies all forklifts (electric and gas-powered) as Powered Industrial Trucks. One of the most important safety checks with forklifts is proper maintenance. According to OSHA, failing to adhere to a regular forklift maintenance schedule can cause costly accidents.

Many mishaps with forklifts can be avoided altogether with a sensible, easy-to-follow forklift maintenance plan.  When you perform forklift maintenance, think of it as an investment for your company and your employees. Forklift maintenance can help with:

Accident prevention

OSHA inspections

Overall safety

Forklift Maintenance Tips

1. Check tire pressure. Improperly inflated tires can cause load shifts, bad turns, and other accidents. If your forklifts operate outdoors in hot climates, it’s OK to keep the tire PSI just below the recommended rating.

2. Make sure the safety features are in working order. Turn signals, backup signals, horns – these are very important for proper forklift maintenance. If your company is visited by OSHA and any safety signals are broken, you could be looking at expensive fines or citations. If you follow a forklift maintenance plan, you have a better chance of ensuring that all your forklifts’ signals are in working order!

3. Do regular inspections. How are the fluids? What’s that noise when you make a left turn? Stay on top of the little things, and the big picture will take care of itself.

4. Check for leaky hoses. Even if you see a slight leak somewhere that does not look like a big problem, identify where it’s coming from and fix it immediately.

5. Ensure forks are straight. Your lift’s forks keep loads stable and help move & transport thousands of pounds of cargo every shift. Just one small bend in the forks will impact both performance and, more crucially, safety.

Just like a forklift requires good maintenance, so does a well-run safety program. If your company isn’t up to date with training and safety, penalties could happen.

OSHA requires renewal training after 3 years for all forklift drivers, from new employees to veteran forklift operators. This helps ensure that your workers have the proper credentials to operate powered industrial trucks. Combined with an up-to-date forklift maintenance program, and your company is ready for any OSHA inspection you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that all of your workers have the latest safety training to perform their tasks with 100% confidence!