Forklifts are one of the most versatile machines in industrial settings. Designed to operate in the toughest conditions, these powered industrial trucks are used to get the job done. With all the heavy lifting involved, it’s crucial forklifts be maintained and serviced on regularly. Neglect will not only shorten the forklift’s lifespan, but pose a safety risk to the forklift operator.
Basics of Forklift Maintenance
Any forklift that is defective, unsafe, or needs repair, must be taken out of service until safe operating conditions have been restored. Due to associated hazards of powered industrial trucks, only authorized personnel are allowed to perform maintenance and repair work.
Maintenance issues are identified:
- During inspections: Forklifts that are continuously used must be inspected before each shift. For reference, OSHA has provided a sample daily checklist of safety and operational issues. It is also essential to perform preventive maintenance work based on the scheduled recommendations of the manufacturer.
- During use: Maintenance issues may occur while the powered industrial truck is in use. Operators must watch out for potential hazards including leakage, overheating, fire, and mechanical breakdowns. Once the operator has identified these issues, he or she must stop and park the vehicle to get assistance as soon as possible.
Maintenance Guidelines from OSHA
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) is the 6th most frequently cited standard in 2016. Out of 2,855 violations, 617 were related to the safe operation of powered industrial trucks, while 255 citations involved truck repair and maintenance. Avoid safety and compliance issues by following OSHA’s standards! Here are some of the recommendations:
- 178(q)(1): Powered industrial trucks that do not have safe operating conditions must be removed from service. All necessary repair work must be made by an authorized personnel.
- 178(q)(2): Do not repair powered industrial trucks in Class 1, 2, or 3 locations.
- 178(q)(3): Fuel and ignition system repairs which involve fire hazards must only be conducted in designated areas.
- 178(q)(4): Disconnect the battery prior to repairing the electrical systems of powered industrial trucks.
- 178(q)(5): For safety purposes, only equivalent parts of the original design must be used to replace any part of an industrial truck.
- 178(q)(6): Do not alter the relative positions of the original parts in a different manner. Do not add or remove extra parts that are not from the manufacturer. Refer to the full standard for specific exemptions to the rule.
- 178(q)(7): At least, industrial trucks must be examined daily before being used. If the examination shows any hazardous safety condition, the equipment must be placed out of service. If it is used round-the-clock, inspect the industrial truck after each shift. Report and correct defects immediately.
- 178(q)(8): Fill water mufflers on a daily basis or as required to prevent the water supply from reaching below 75 percent of its capacity.
- 178(q)(9): Remove the vehicle out of service if any part of the truck is exceeding normal operating temperatures and is creating a hazardous working condition. Do not use the industrial truck until the cause of the overheating has been addressed accordingly.
- 178(q)(10): Keep the industrial truck in a clean condition—no excess oil, lint, and grease. Clean trucks using non-combustible agents. Take precautionary measures regarding ventilation, toxicity, and fire hazards.
Forklift and Heavy Equipment Training
In compliance with regulatory standards, forklift operators must be trained before driving powered industrial trucks. 360training.com’s online Forklift and Heavy Equipment Training program can walk you through the ins and outs of such heavy-duty machines. Contact us to find out more about these self-paced and mobile-compatible training solutions.