In the last article, we looked at all the important visual checks that are important before the operation of a forklift. In today's safety article we intend to go deeper and look at some of the pre-start tests that involve inspecting the functioning of the different parts of the forklift before operations begin.
Here are the several inspections that you need to conduct.
Inspect Your braking system
A forklift's braking system is one of the most important components when it comes to safety. Therefore before you can use the forklift you should ensure that you check their condition. A properly functioning foot brake should enable a smooth stop while the parking brake should prevent any form of acceleration. You should, therefore, test them for the capacity to perform these functions adequately. If they are unable to perform to then they should either be replaced or sent in for maintenance.
Inspect The Lift And Tilt Mechanism
Inspection of the forklift's lift and tilt mechanism is also important for smooth operations.
OSHA recommends that you test the lift mechanism by lifting the forks to their maximum height and then lowering them to the lowest height they can attain. They should be able to operate smoothly without any issues.
Afterward, you should test the tilt mechanism by tilting the forks backward and forwards and checking for their ability to hold properly.
Inspect The Instruments On The Dashboard.
The instruments on the dashboard of a forklift should also be checked as they can alert you on the different aspects of the forklift. Before you can even check what they are indicating you should ensure they are properly functioning.
Normally the warning lights and gauges will alert you on the transmission temperature, engine oil pressure and the battery charge levels, fuel levels and the engine temperature. If they are not then alert your supervisor immediately.
Inspect For Smooth Steering
You should also test the steering of the forklift to ensure it is responsive to your actions.
Using forklifts with damaged steering mechanisms can result in misaligned wheels that will lead to further damage to the forklift tires.
Some of the common problems with the steering are worn out gears that need replacement and low steering fluids.
Inspect For Leaking Cylinder And Hoses
During the inspection of the lift and tilt mechanisms you may or may not notice some leaks which are a sure sign of damage on the cylinders and hoses.
The leaked oil can be a source of slipping accidents or damage to the tires. Cylinders that leak always result in erratic lifting since the mast cannot be controlled properly and this can be a source of accidents due to falling loads. Such cylinders should be fixed immediately.
Summary of Key Points
Inspect and ensure the braking system works properly.
Test the lifting and tilting mechanism for proper functioning.
Observe the instruments on the dashboard for any warning and functioning.
Test out the steering to see if it is working properly and is responsive.
Look out for any leaking which is a sign of damage to the cylinders.
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