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Forklift Trucks - Fork Safety

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How often should the forks of forklift trucks be inspected?

Under normal operating conditions, forks should be inspected daily and every six months.

Daily: Operators should make visual inspection of forks during the pre-start-up check, giving special attention in looking for permanent distortions and cracks.

Six months: A thorough inspection of forks should be done every six months, preferably by a trained individual, to check for any cracks and distortion. Forks may need inspections more often, depending on the use of the equipment.


What are some important points of a periodical (six months) fork inspection?

  • Check fork blades for wear. Forks are constantly subjected to abrasion by concrete floors, steel shelving, etc. This abrasion can reduce the thickness of a fork until it cannot lift loads up to the designed capacity.
  • Check for distortion. Forks can be bent out of shape. Depending on distortion, some forks can be straightened. The fork manufacturer is best qualified to correct this. Your local forklift supplier can make the arrangements.
  • Check for cracks in heel and hanger. Cracks may appear on forks where attachments are welded on or in the inside radius of the bend area. Periodic inspection using a magnetic particle or dye penetrant test can detect cracks. Approved grinding methods may grind out and polish these blemishes, depending on the depth of the crack. Contact your forklift supplier or the manufacturer for additional information.
  • Replace, when necessary, with good quality forks. When ordering or reordering forks, make sure you are getting high quality forks that will do your lifting jobs safely. Insist on forged forks or ones with an upset heel.
  • Use the proper forks. Custom-designed forks may be needed for:
    • unusual lifting conditions
    • spark-free areas
    • high heat furnace areas
    • special object lifting
  • Contact your forklift supplier for assistance.
Forks

What are some things you should not do to forklift forks?

  • Do not overload the forks. Operators should be aware of the capacity of the forklift and the capacity of the forks. Overloading may bend and weaken forks.
  • Do not repair your own forks. No one but the fork manufacturer should undertake the repair of forks.
  • Do not modify forks without consulting with your forklift supplier.

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Document last updated on January 26, 1998
Document confirmed current on June 7, 2013

Disclaimer

Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.