The Different Checks You Should Conduct Before Using A Forklift (Part One)


The Different Checks You Should Conduct Before Using A Forklift (Part One)

The Different Checks You Should Conduct Befor…

21st Nov 2019

Every forklift operator is normally required to conduct checks before they can start their shift on a forklift. It has always gone a long way in ensuring that they conduct safe operations.

Even though checks are primarily for safety, they also help identify problems beforehand that can prove costly to firms due to downtime.

Two kinds of checks are vital to ensure your operations are safe. One of the checks is the visual pre-check and the other is the Operational check.

In the first part of this article series, we look at the visual pre-check and what you should look for;

Suitability Of The Work Environment

Your work environment is just as important as the state of your forklift. Therefore even before you get into the forklift you should ensure you do to a visual survey of your work environment. Especially if it is an environment you are not familiar with.

What To Look For:

Ensure the environment is clean and free of debris, wet areas and oil spills on the path of the forklift. The debris will act as obstacles that lead to accidents while the oil spills expose you and other workers to slips. Oil can be damaging to rubber tires due to its corrosiveness.

Ensure you are familiar with the traffic flow and the different workers that operate in the same space and the equipment they use. Doing so will provide a great overview of how to conduct your operations without crashing into pedestrians.

Ensure your forklift can fit through the doorways and every other exit you are expected to use with or without the load you are moving. This will save both your warehouse and forklift unnecessary damage.

Ensure that you have sufficient overhead clearance for your type of forklift for successful operations that will not lead to damage to the overhead fixtures. e.g. cables and power lines.

Ensure you take note of all the different blind spots so that you can take the necessary precaution as you approach them. You will be more alert to them enough to reduce your speeds in such areas and make use of your horn to warn pedestrians on your path.

Ensure that the loading docks you will be using are clear and are fitted with the necessary edge protection devices.

Emergency Response Mechanism and Equipment

Since accidents can still happen even when the highest level of precaution is taken, you should always be prepared to respond to an accident before you begin your shift.

What To Look For:

Ensure you are fully aware of the emergency exits in case you will need to evacuate the building (In case of a warehouse) during an incident like a fire outbreak. (This will also ensure you do not unknowingly block such exits while discharging your duties.)

Ensure you are also aware of the areas you can find the equipment like fire extinguishers or first aid kits that you can use to respond to minor accidents before substantial help is available.

You should also go a step further to ensure they fully operational or well kitted.

Condition Of The Forklift 

Far more accidents are caused by forklifts that are not in the best condition. Therefore you must do a visual check to ensure your forklift can handle the tasks that you need it for.

What To Look For;

Ensure that all the fluids that are needed for the operation of the forklift are at the recommended levels. Therefore check that the levels of the engine oil, fuel, and the radiator water levels satisfy the recommendations.

Ensure that the battery is fully charged and is in good working condition. The battery plugs should not be loose and dirty. The brackets should also be capable of holding the battery in position while the vent caps should be clog-free. The electrolyte levels in the battery should be sufficient to prevent incidences of overheating.

Ensure the wheels and the forklift tires are in good working condition and are properly inflated in case they are pneumatic tires. Wheels that have cracks can easily cut through the fibers of the forklift tires damaging them. For the forklift tires, you should look for chunking, flat spots, and tears on the tires.

Ensure that the forklift chains are in good condition since they support the lifting mechanism. Damage on them exposes them to material failure which will make the loads fall. Therefore observe the pins for any loosening, wear and tear or bending.

Ensure the forks are also not damaged since they bear a great amount of weight and provide balancing during lifting. There should be no surface cracks on the forks, bends and the positioning latches should not be overly worn out such that they cannot sustain the forks. 

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