The steel forks are one of the toughest parts on a forklift. They're designed to take a lot of abuse, but they can also fail without warning.
A dropped load can cause serious injury, product damage, and expensive repairs, but the good news is: fork failures are easily preventable.
Start by driving the forklift to a well-lit area, or grab a flashlight. You’ll also need a “go-no-go” gauge (also known as a forklift caliper) and a ruler or measuring tape.
You’re most likely to find damage close at the fork heel, the mast, and at the fork tips, but it’s important to thoroughly inspect the entire fork for cracks and gouges. If you detect damage, replace the forks as soon as possible.
Next, use the go-no-go gauge to confirm the thickness of each fork meets OSHA requirements.
You can also use the gauge to evaluate whether the forks are bent or uneven. On the hinge of the gauge, there should be an angle measurement tool.
Next, measure the distance between the tip of each fork and the ground. The fork tips should be 1/ 4" - 3 /8" off the ground and within 3 percent of each other.
Forklift forks should be as close to identical as possible for safety reasons. If one fork is excessively bent or worn, replace both and have a conversation with your operators about forklift safety (and consider retraining). If the forks aren’t wearing evenly, that’s a sign of improper use.
Lastly, check the fork hook and positioning lock.
Operators should visually inspect forks before every shift, and thorough inspections (as described above) are required annually for single-shift operations per ANSI/ITSDF standard B-56.1. Multi-shift operations should consider quarterly inspections.
If you've ever seen operators let the forks touch the ground or use the forks for pushing or prying, there’s a good chance your forks have damage. Don't wait until the unthinkable happens. Make time to inspect your equipment.
Don't risk a serious incident caused by a highly preventable problem. The certified forklift service techs at The Lilly Company can inspect your forks and provide other essential maintenance on-site at your facility. We service all forklift makes and models.
The Lilly Company serves customers throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and eastern Arkansas. We have a massive inventory of forklift parts, including replacement forks for nearly any application, make or model including:
Arkansas – Jonesboro
Alabama - Birmingham, Dothan, Irondale, Madison, Mobile, and Montgomery
Mississippi - Tupelo and Richland
Tennessee - Jackson, Kingsport, Knoxville, and Memphis