11 Safety Tips When Performing Forklift Maintenance

29 December 2014
 Categories: , Blog

Safety is vital when servicing a forklift. These machines, while reliable and safe if operated correctly, can do real damage to person or company property if maintenance safety is not observed. This is why anyone doing maintenance should keep a safety checklist nearby whenever working on a forklift.

Forklift Maintenance Safety Checklist

  1. Only allow certified personnel to perform maintenance – A forklift may resemble other machines, but it has its own particular features that the maintenance person must be trained in. Lack of training can result in dangerous mistakes.

  2. Wear protective gear – Safety glasses, gloves, long-sleeve shirts, long pants, boots – all of these may be necessary depending on what maintenance is being performed.

  3. Disconnect batteries – All batteries should be disconnected before work ever begins to avoid electrical shock, or accidental starting of the forklift.

  4. Block the wheels – Place blocks behind the wheels to prevent rolling.

  5. Prop the hood open – Make sure the hood is held open securely. Work may result in movement of the machine and the hood can fall on the maintenance person if not secured.

  6. Work in a well-lit area – If the area is not well-lit, bring in work lights. Work is easier and safer when you can see what you are doing.

  7. Cover the battery with insulation – The metal tools and equipment you are using can hit the battery terminals accidentally, which can give you a nasty shock and possibly start a fire. Use some sort of insulating material to protect the battery.

  8. Clean spills immediately – Hydraulic fluid and oil are extremely slippery, and should be cleaned up using proper cleaning materials immediately upon spillage. It is easy to put this off until the work is done, but doing so creates a possible hazard for the maintenance person and anyone else in the area.

  9. Secure the counterweight before disconnecting it from the machine – The counterweight is extremely heavy, and should only be detached if something is securing it. The popular solution is to attach a chain hoist to the counterweight, although you may need to find another option depending on your situation.

  10. Check the main welds – The main welds on the forklift need to be checked using magnetic particle testing if any cracks are apparent. This should also be done once a year.

  11. Check for bends or cracks in the forks – The forks are put under tremendous pressure. If any problems are noticed, repair them before releasing the forklift back to the shop floor.