Forklifts require regular inspection and servicing to avoid major problems and costly downtimes. In fact, OSHA regulations stipulate certain preventative maintenance activities, like daily inspections and the prompt replacement of parts that begin to show wear and tear (i.e. tires missing rubber or cracked tines). Unfortunately, forklift service itself can be dangerous if done the wrong way. With 85 deaths and 35,000 injuries a year caused by forklifts, safety should be a priority. Here are a few tips for ensuring safety during these procedures.
Complete forklift service on the recommended schedule.
The first step in ensuring your safety and the safety of your workers is to complete your forklift service on the recommended schedule. This schedule often includes tasks that should be done within certain time frames (i.e. monthly or biannually).
Alternatively, your technician may recommend that you complete tasks based on how much the forklift is used. For example, you may need to replace your fuel filter after 200 hours of having the forklift turned on, or after a certain number of hours of pressing the forklift's pedal.
You may find that there are tasks that need to be completed on a time schedule, and others that need to be completed on a usage schedule. Regardless, your machine should come with a recommended maintenance schedule. In addition, your technician may have a preferred schedule for you to follow.
By keeping up with these recommended schedules, you improve the overall safety of your forklift experience, because you increase your chances of identifying problems before they lead to major accidents. Regular servicing and maintenance allows your technicians to stay on top of any issues your forklift develops so that they are more likely to deal with minor replacements and tune ups instead of major part failures that require more work, more money and potentially more danger.
Complete forklift service with a qualified technician.
Another major contributor to safety during forklift service is the use of a qualified technician. Presumably, you only allow certified individuals to operate your machine and complete the daily inspections. (If not, you need to certify them through safety programs like Darr's.)
The same goes for the people who perform your forklift service and maintenance. They should be qualified individuals who are authorized to complete the work needed on your particular forklift. These individuals possess training in how to safely complete the work. They not only know how the parts of the forklift operate and how to keep them in top shape, but how to prevent issues such as falling or tipping machines, electrocution, improper installation of parts, and other issues that can lead to serious injuries and accidents.
As a result, when looking for someone to complete forklift service, look for technicians who are thoroughly trained in servicing material handling equipment. Here at Darr, our technicians receive ongoing training to keep them up to date on the latest technology and safety techniques relating to the work they do.
Create a separate, dry area for your forklift service.
Another step in ensuring safety during the servicing of your forklift is to create a separate, dry area where the forklift service can occur. For example, the area you choose should be away from entrances and exits, as well as away from aisles to stay out of the way of other machines and employees.
Furthermore, the area should be clean and free of debris, tools, and other items that can trip or hinder the technicians as they work. Finally, the work area you set up should be completely dry. Any spills of grease, fluid, water, or other materials can create slippery areas that could pose a hazard to the technicians working on your machine.
Your technician may have other recommendations for the work area he or she needs to use while performing forklift service on your machine. Following these recommendations will ensure a safe space where technicians can safely and quickly complete their tasks.
Stabilize the forklift completely before performing forklift service.
Since crushing is one of the most common causes of death by forklifts, stabilizing is a critical component of safe forklift servicing. Ensuring that your machine is completely secure before anyone begins working on it prevents movement of the forklift. Any movement can lead to serious or fatal accidents.
Some steps to take to keep the forklift stable include blocking the machine to prevent forward or backward movement during servicing. In addition, any parts that move (such as the tines) should be lowered to the ground to prevent movement. Finally, the controls should be in neutral, and the forklift hood should be supported to prevent sudden closure.
Stabilization, while requiring time and care, can prevent catastrophic accidents that could be dangerous to technicians and employees. However, experienced technicians should be familiar with how to stabilize a forklift and have the ability to perform all stabilization tasks before performing forklift service.
Taking safety precautions before performing forklift service is important in preventing accidents. When you follow the maintenance schedule, hire qualified technicians, provide a safe area for service, and ensure the stabilization of the machine, you create a safe area where your forklift can be serviced. If you need assistance with forklift service or repair, contact Darr today. We can provide qualified technicians who follow all safety protocols for your machine, and offer other fleet management solutions.