The importance of looking after a forklift truck properly cannot be understated. While it might be tempting to save time by dealing with faults as they occur, this can have serious consequences on your operations, including breakdowns and the resulting unplanned (and costly) stoppages. Worst still, neglecting maintenance can lead to serious accidents and cause you to fall foul of the law.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98), Regulation 5, states: “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
Primarily, this ensures that the equipment is safe. However, the state of maintenance has clear implications on productivity.
Keep your truck in check
A sound system of daily or pre-shift checks is the cornerstone of good maintenance, ensuring essential fluids are kept topped up and potential defects are identified before they become a problem.
Daily checks should be completed by forklift truck operators at the start of their shift or working day, as required by their employer. These should be recorded formally and carried out properly.
A range of items will be looked at by the operator, including:
- Any outstanding faults
- Obvious leaks
- Warning lights
- Tyres, wheels and nuts
- Damage to vital components
This is by no means an exhaustive list. For further guidance on the items, which your pre-shift check should cover, refer to guidance from your forklift truck’s manufacturer, your dealer, or the FLTA’s top selling Daily Checks booklet.
Importantly, the time allocated for pre-shift or daily checks should not be pre-determined. This will allow the operator time to properly inspect the truck, so that any defects can be identified. It’s essential for safety, so it takes as long as it takes.
When problems are spotted, operators should record the issue, alert their supervisor and wait for authority to proceed.
As the only part of a forklift truck which is always in contact with the ground, a tyre can be especially vulnerable to damage, making them a potentially dangerous and expensive hazard.
When damaged, in poor condition, or (in the case of pneumatic tyres) under or over inflated, tyres may adversely affect a truck’s stability. Therefore, checking of all tyres is an important element of a daily or pre-shift check, as well as routine preventative maintenance.
Action should be taken to replace damaged or worn forklift trucks tyres without delay. Importantly, only trained forklift engineers may fit or repair tyres.