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6 Forklift Maintenance Tips to Help with Safety

6 Forklift Maintenance Tips to Help with Safety

There’s no substitute for regular forklift maintenance. When a facility depends on lift trucks to stay productive, maintenance helps prevent unexpected downtime and costly repairs. At the same time, service is extremely important for forklift safety. To demonstrate the value of regular maintenance as part of your forklift safety program, Barclay Brand Ferdon offers six tips to keep lift trucks in good condition.

1. Follow OSHA Guidelines for Daily Inspections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires daily pre-operational and operational checks to confirm forklifts are in good condition. Doing so prevents the use of an unsafe truck and quickly identifies problems before they become serious. OSHA’s checklist for daily forklift inspections includes:

  • Fluid levels
  • Hoses and mast chains
  • Tires
  • Forks
  • Finger guards
  • Safety decals and nameplates
  • Operator compartment
  • Electrical, internal combustion, or liquid propane (LP) components if relevant
  • And more

Operators should also confirm that a user manual is present on the forklift and in readable condition.

2. Regularly Check, Repair, and Replace Safety Components

Accidents can easily occur in busy warehouses as forklifts navigate narrow aisles, locations with limited visibility, and pedestrian areas. Frequent reviews of each forklift’s safety components can identify damaged or worn equipment and ensure updated parts are installed as soon as possible to prevent avoidable injuries.  

Be sure to check the following items:

  • Brakes
  • Lights
  • Backup and other warning lights
  • Turn and backup signals
  • Horns
  • Seatbelts

3. Repair or Replace Damaged Tires

Low air pressure in pneumatic tires can increase flexing when turning corners or applying brakes. When this occurs, operators experience difficult handling, slow stops, or even blowouts that cause them to lose control.

Beyond air pressure, tires should regularly be checked for cracks, low tread, and visible signs of damage. Forklift tires often wear quickly and unevenly due to repetitive driving patterns and should be patched or replaced to maintain safe operation.

4. Repair Damage to Forks and Attachments

Your lift truck’s forks and attachments are built to last, but this doesn’t prevent damage due to impacts, too-heavy loads, and other problems. Operators should perform regular visual inspections to look for dents, cracks, broken components, and faulty connectors. Any of these issues could result in reduced carrying capacity and make loads unstable, risking injury to operators and nearby workers.

5. Keep Forklifts Clean

Dirt and debris aren’t just unsightly – they can also impede the performance of your fleet and make it less safe. Lint, wood and paper dust, and other particles easily build up, block radiators, and cause blowouts. Equally dangerous, this debris is highly flammable and could combust without warning. Fires like this are especially dangerous in facilities that handle flammable materials. Cleaning forklifts each week helps reduce this risk and keeps the fleet looking professional.

6. Avoid Overdue Service with a Planned Maintenance Program  

Keeping up with regular maintenance is one of the best forklift safety precautions you can take. Doing so identifies small problems before they become dangerous and expensive. You’ll also reduce unplanned downtime and increase efficiency throughout your facility. However, in-house techs can be expensive, especially for smaller companies and those with large, diverse fleets.

To simplify service and keep trucks operating safely, consider planned operational maintenance and inspection programs like those offered at Barclay Brand Ferdon. We provide a variety of services to meet your needs, including:

  • Full maintenance programs
  • Custom maintenance plans
  • Battery maintenance

An experienced technician at our South Plainfield, NJ facility can help determine which option best suits your fleet.

Learn More about Forklift Safety

From top-quality service to on-site forklift safety training programs, Barclay Brand Ferdon is committed to helping businesses in Northern NJ and nearby NY counties maintain safer fleets. To learn more about our maintenance services, contact us or request service today.

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