Follow Forklift Truck Maintenance Routine for Optimal Performance

In a recent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation, a company in Nottingham who pleaded guilty were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6478 following an incident involving a side loader forklift truck. It was found that the company did not maintain the side loader forklift as per the manufacturer’s specifications. This leads us to the topic of the this blog – Forklift Truck Maintenance

Forklift trucks are large and heavy piece of equipment which if not maintained regularly, could cause accidents and injury to staff and as in above case, lead to a hefty fine by HSE.

Follow Forklift Truck Maintenance Routine for Optimal Performance

Additionally, a well maintained forklift truck would avoid costly downtime, ensure peak performance and maximise the lifespan of the equipment.

LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) are a set of regulations designed to make lifting operations, and the use of lifting equipment such as forklift trucks, as safe as can be. The regulations make sure that you impose a system of regular checks, thorough inspections, and routine maintenance. The other relevant regulation is Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

There are three main maintenance schedules all forklift users should employ. These are:

  • daily check-up
  • monthly / quarterly maintenance
  • annual maintenance

Daily Check-up

It is generally recommended that a daily check-up of the forklift truck is carried out before every shift. This should include:

  • Tyres check – ensure they are inflated, free of damage or excessive wear and the wheel nuts are tight
  • Forks and mast are not bent, cracked or showing excessive rust. Mast lift chain and rollers are in good condition
  • Hydraulic lines are free of damage or cracks and are not leaking. Check fluid levels
  • Check for damage on all hoses and cables and lift cylinders
  • Check the seat belts.
  • Start the forklift truck and check the lights and horn
  • Check the fuel level or battery charge level for electric forklift trucks
  • Check engine oil and engine coolant
  • Move the forklift truck a short distance and check for and leaks or spillages left behind from its parking position
  • Test the accelerator, steering, brakes, hand brake and signals
  • Raise the forks up and down and test the tilt mechanism

A daily check-up should take only a few minutes.

Monthly / Quarterly Maintenance

You must follow the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer and it will also depend on your daily usage. For example you may be required to change oil every three months or every 250 hours of use. The monthly or quarterly maintenance should be done by a competent qualified person. The inspection should include:

  • Accelerator and brake pedal free play check
  • Check hand brake
  • Check tyre wear and tyre pressure
  • Check lift chain tension, mast operation, carriage rollers, lift and tilt cylinders
  • Check hydraulic oil pump
  • Check differential and transmission oil
  • Check and where necessary change all filters, hoses and valves
  • Clean the radiator
  • Replace the fuel and hydraulic filters
  • Lubricate chassis-mast attachment

Annual Maintenance

Annual maintenance is often carried out by external specialist. You need to follow the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure the warrantee is valid. Check forklift truck thoroughly for any potential repairs that may be needed to ensure optimal performance, safety and durability.

This is a brief summary of forklift truck maintenance. The actual maintenance will vary for each forklift depending on the fuel, usage and the age of the forklift. It is important that any fault found is remedied as soon as possible. A record of all the maintenance should be kept including the daily check-up.

Wallace School of Transport is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 50 years’ experience. You can be trained either at your own work site or at Wallace Centre in Park Royal. If you have any questions, call Wallace Forklift Training on 020 8453 3440, choose option 3 or click here to email us.

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