A functional forklift guarantees that your forklift is up and ready for another day of challenges and hard work. Besides regularly maintaining your forklift and reporting any suspicious signs to your warehouse supervisor, it is your job, as an operator, to quickly check the mechanic performance of your forklift every morning. Typically, a pre-operation forklift inspection requires you to visually scan the general condition of the forklift and actually testing the utility of vital forklift parts. So before you tackle your material handling duties, make sure you inspect the following aspects of your forklift.
The Brake System
If you are transporting heavy materials and cannot stop, you and those in your immediate surrounding are going to get hurt. The brake system of your forklift keeps you from running into things, while giving you full control over the traveling speed of your forklift. Test your brake system to make sure that the brakes are working properly. Start with your foot brake by stepping on it to check its engagement. A healthy brake should not need too much pressing to respond. Next, try your parking brake so that your forklift will not be in motion when you need to stop and load/unload materials.
The Steering System
After making sure that your brake and warning backlights are functioning as expected, it is time to check your steering system for signs of failure. The maneuverability of your forklift depends heavily on the responsiveness of your steering system. Give your forklift a short drive to check if the workhorse steers effortlessly across the floor surface. Test your steering mechanism in both forward and reverse directions by paying special attention to the way your steering wheel responds to your command. If you are putting greater than usual force to operate (or turn) your steering wheel, you know that there may be low or uneven tire pressure, abnormal friction in the steering gearbox, in the linkage, or at the ball joints, or improper wheel or frame alignment. Go through the necessary steps to tackle the root of the problem or contact your mechanic right away.
The Lift Mechanism
A running forklift that cannot properly handle materials is not only unproductive, but also extremely unsafe. Inspect your lift mechanism for signs of crack or chip around the carriage teeth. If everything looks fine and the positioning latches are in good working condition, then go ahead and test the performance of your lift mechanism by raising the forks to maximum height and then lowering them down completely. Make sure that both the raising and lifting processes are smooth and free of any abnormal sound and pause. You can also use the opportunity to check the tilt mechanism by moving the mast all the way forward and backward.
Listen or Look for Any Unusual Signs
The brake and steering system and the lift mechanism are vital parts of your forklift. Besides making sure that these parts are working seamlessly and smoothly, every forklift operator should exercise professional judgment and be always on the lookout for suspicious signs and noises. Be always on your guard, and when in doubt, take the necessary steps to retreat from a material handling duty. Drive your forklift to a safe spot and quickly inspect and test for mechanical failure and other malfunctions.