Many people think if they buy their forklifts new, they don't have to keep daily tabs on the condition of the vehicle. This is untrue. Whether you have a new or used forklift, drivers need to perform vehicle checks on them daily. In some situations, it may even need to be checked each time a new operator enters the machine. A circle check and an operations inspection are the two main portions to be included in your daily routine.
Survey The Condition
Called a circle check, drivers need to assess the components of their forklifts before they start the day's work. Have a look at the general appearance of the machine and move anything that might be in the way of the vehicle. It needs to be relatively clean and appear cared for at all times. Items on the floor of the vehicle should be removed to prevent a slip or fall. You also want to make note of anything above the forklift that could get in the way of the load or the cab itself. Popular items to watch out for include items such as lights or vent systems.
The drivers of forklifts need to check the status of the vehicle's mechanical components. The cables for the battery need to be snug and there should be no visible damage. The battery needs to be seated properly in the vehicle, charged, and in good condition. Miscellaneous items like bolts, nuts, chain anchor pins, guards, hoses, and other items should be present and securely attached to the new or used forklift. Safety equipment should all be accounted for and working properly. This includes items such as lights, seatbelts, horns, and other safety components found on the vehicle.
The lifting and load system on forklifts are included in the circle check as well. Even if you are working with a used forklift, this portion of the vehicle should not show evidence of damage. This can include bent segments or cracks in the metal. The latches that hold these in place should be in ideal condition. You also want to check the carriage teeth for any signs of wear and tear.
Checking The Machine's Usability
The mechanisms that run the machine need to be checked after the circle check is complete. This kind of heavy-duty lift equipment comes with three separate brake systems that need to be inspected. The parking brake should hold the vehicle when the throttle is applied lightly. Test the stopping consistency of the foot brake by seeing how smoothly it takes to stop and how far it takes to stop. The deadman seat break needs to hold when you stand up from the seat.
When you test out its driving capabilities, the new or used forklift should steer easily with no jerks or hesitation. Pay attention to the quality of the shifting as well. There shouldn't be any jerking, hesitation, or lurching from the gears or clutch system. Finally, test its lifting capabilities. Move the forks from their lowest position to the highest point. Then, move them all the way from the left to the right. Make sure that these hold regardless of the position and that all of the movements are smooth. When you are certain these components are all working properly, examine the hydraulics for any leaks.
Everyone who uses a new or used forklift needs to perform these checks at least once daily. If you fail to do these checks properly, the machine will not perform as well as it should and will help you be productive. Failing to do these simple inspections can lead to serious safety accidents. Forklifts are the best choice when it comes to lifting and moving equipment, and with a safety conscious operator, these jobs can go smoothly without a problem.
Christine O'Kelly writes for RHI Lifts, the leading Chicago forklifts supplier. They provide new, refurbished, and used Toyota forklift machines as well as E-Z-GO Cars, parking, and storage lifts for private and commercial garages.