21 October 2014

In some countries it is required by law, but in daily practice we tend to skip it: the daily check of our forklift and warehouse trucks. It makes really good business sense to verify at least periodically if our materials handling equipment is in good shape. The check has several purposes. On one hand, a daily check - before the shift starts - prevents both unexpected surprises and high maintenance bills in the long term. On the other, a daily check avoids unnecessary discussions about who caused the damage to the truck.

A good checklist for the daily inspection may contain many aspects, varying from the truck controls to hydraulic oil levels. There are too many to discuss in just one blog, so we limit ourselves to three very important ones:

1. Operation

In order to operate a warehouse- or a lift truck well, all the controls and buttons need to function well. That may seem logical. It is just as logical to inspect them all prior to start working. Does the mast reach out well? Does the horn sound loud enough? How about the emergency stop? Do the working lights illuminate things well? And so on.

2. Leakages

A forklift has several features, which can cause a leakage, for example the braking system or the hydraulic circuit. Leakages can cause dangerous or even life-threatening situations. That is enough reason to check every day whether all the connections and the hoses are free from leaks. Check the break by pushing the pedal hard and long. Make also sure the battery does not leak; when you find faults it makes sense to report this to management.

3. Damage

It can be dangerous to work with a damaged truck, no matter how small this damage is. Check the truck for these potential risk problems. Make sure there are no sharp objects near the tyres and check the hoses for tear. The forks also require special attention. Extensive use can result in tear at the heel of the forks. Besides tear, check the forks also for wear. When the fork’s thickness has diminished with more than 10%, it is safe to say the fork has become unreliable.

A timely check for damage is also a clever way to avoid drivers accusing each other when damage is being detected. Naturally, nobody seems to remember who drove the damaged truck as last.