Forklift Forks

If there is a part of your forklift that is most taken for granted, it may be the fork. It’s the first word in FORKLIFT, it’s the part of the vehicle that always… ALWAYS… comes in contact with what you are moving and it gets the least amount of attention when it comes to maintenance.

They are simple if you look at it. One piece of hearty metal, bent into an “L” shape, maybe the simplest part of the entire forklift, but like any other part of the machine, they need some attention, too.

Start with adding the forks to your daily routine start-of-shift inspection. Look for damage (forks are tough, but they do get damaged.)  Look for any signs of compromise in the structure of the fork.

Look for surface cracks. Pay attention to the heel of the fork- the part where the front (the blade) bends into the vertical part (the shank). Make sure both blade and shank are straight.

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The Low-Down on Pallets

Find a forklift, and it’s very likely that nearby you will find a pallet or even a stack of pallets.  Forklift and pallets go hand in hand, so much so that it is literally difficult to determine which came first; the forklift or the pallet.

The standard pallet measurements in the US is 42” wide and 48” long.  Pallets have wooden slats on both the top and the bottom.  Don’t confuse a “pallet” with a “skid” which lacks the slats on the bottom side.

Most pallets are made out of wood, although some facilities that deal with food or easily contaminated materials will opt for plastic pallets. They are lighter than their wooden counterparts and therefore easier to transport. They tend to take up less space and are more eco-friendly. They also (and this is no small thing) don’t break as easy as wooden pallets and frankly they’re safer than wood as well. Wood splinters, plastic does not.

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Top 5 Forklift Accessories

Don Haas takes us on a tour, showing off the top 5 accessories that you will find on material handling equipment.  If your equipment doesn’t have these items or they aren’t working correctly, we would be happy to help!

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Pop Quiz: Forklift Safety

You ask us questions all the time, and while we love answering your questions, this time we’re turning the tables on you.

Here’s a pop quiz, Hot Shot, to see how well you’re paying attention.  The subject is:

FORKLIFT SAFETY.

Questions are here.  The answers are below.  Let’s see how well you do.

  1. Q: If you’re carrying a load on a sloped surface, which direction is the safest for the forklift to travel?
  1. Q: Before you climb on board your forklift at the beginning of your shift, what should you always do?
  1. Q: You’re moving a load and the rear wheels leave the ground. What’s the first thing you should do?
  1. Q: One of your co-workers wants a ride on the front of the vehicle, on the tines. What should you do?
  1. Q: You’re moving a load, and the vehicle starts to tip over. What’s your first move?

Give these some thought.  As we’ve established, most safety procedures are really just common sense.  Don’t over-think your answers.

Let’s see how you did.

  1. Answer: In reverse. Common sense, if you’re carrying a load and traveling down a sloped surface, that load could slide off. In this case, gravity is your friend- always move loads in reverse down a sloped surface.
  1. Answer: Complete a visual and manual pre-shift safety check. Log what you see. The pre-shift checklist can not only keep you and your co-workers safe, it can help you identify problems with the unit and keep it functioning in tip-top shape.
  1. Answer: This happens if your load is too heavy for the forklift. Immediately lower the load, and reconsider how you are moving it.  You will likely need to lighten what you are carrying.
  1. Answer: Don’t do this. Never ever. Ever.  It’s extremely dangerous and pretty dumb. Tell your co-worker to get his thrills somewhere else, but not on your watch.
  1. Answer: Your first impulse will likely be to jump out. DO NOT JUMP OUT. Stay inside, the forklift has a roll cage for a reason. You’ll have your seat belt on and fastened- grab the steering wheel and brace your feet in a wide stance. Be aware that most forklift tip-over accidents happen on inclines and at high speeds. Be smart, and be safe.

Ok, how did you do?

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