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3 Ways to Make Your Company’s Forklifts Safer for Employees

Forklifts are industrial workhorses that buzz through warehouses and perform admirable feats with their superior engineering. However, lifting pallets and deftly zooming around in the tight aisles of a warehouse or a construction site can place a lot of wear and tear on forklift parts.

Damaged equipment, improper usage, and failure to follow safety protocols can all affect the safe operation of a forklift. Let’s consider 3 ways to make your company’s forklifts safer for employees below:

1: Inspect Equipment for Leaks Daily

Forklifts rely on a lot of fluids to ensure proper function. If these fluids leak out, they can compromise the forklift, cause a catastrophic failure at an inopportune moment, and put employees in danger. Imagine if the forklift is raising a large pallet, and then suddenly fails when workers are attempting to move the load.

Or imagine if the steering fails, and the forklift smashes into valuable merchandise or knocks over a large shelf or series of shelves that come tumbling down. Typically, leaks manifest when the high-pressure rubber hoses are damaged. Forklifts use hydraulic fluid, pressurized coolant, and oil. Oil and fuel are the most dangerous types of leaks because they can catch on fire.

2: Inspect the Structural Integrity

Forklifts operate under a lot of tension and are made of metal parts that can corrode. Therefore, it is critical to check the forklift mast regularly for cracked, bent, twisted, stretched, rusted, and misaligned sections.

Structural damage will progress and eventually lead to a catastrophic failure if the issues are not fixed quickly. Using newer equipment and keeping it clean makes it easier to spot subtle defects caused by improper operation or poor storage habits.

Inspecting the structural integrity of wires is also necessary to prevent short circuits and equipment failure. Over time, wires become brittle and can snap. The battery can also become weak and reduce overall functionality.

3: Replace the Utility Vehicle Seals

Forklift seals are made of rubber and will harden and dry rot over time. Eventually, they will fail because the suppleness of the rubber is what allows it to provide surface tension between unions, and the lack of elasticity will cause it to tear at some point.

There are numerous seals on a forklift that can fail over time. And it can be incredibly difficult to overhaul an aging forklift to replace all the seals. Therefore, many owners focus on the main seals which can cause serious fluid leaks and catastrophic failure.

The rear main seal is the seal that gets the most attention. This seal allows the crankshaft of the engine to rotate smoothly without leaking out the internal lubricating oil.

This repair involves the removal of the transmission from the engine and is usually not addressed until there is a catastrophic failure. However, preventative maintenance can be achieved by replacing it after about 8 years, since this is the maximum lifespan of rubber tires.

Rubber tends to degrade over time, especially when exposed to high temperatures. Nipping the repair in the bud by scheduling maintenance, will save you from an accident and unexpected downtime when you need the forklift in operation the most.

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