Telescopic Forklift: Proper Maintenance and Safety Guidelines

Telescopic Forklift: Proper Maintenance and Safety Guidelines

Telescopic forklifts can prove to be a valuable asset to warehouse facilities, stores and factories as they allow you to access and transport loads from higher locations that a normal forklift can’t reach. They even prove to be suitable alternatives to more costly options such as cranes. But like anything else, their performance and value is hinged on how well they’re maintained and how closely operators and workers stick to vital safety guidelines; attentive maintenance and safety practices are essential.

 Telescopic Forklift Maintenance

Before operating a truck, one should always perform a pre-operation inspection to ensure that it’s safe and in working order. This is something that can’t be overlooked and every part is as equally as important as the other. The inspection should make note of the following areas:

  • Chassis
  • Boom and Components
  • Fork Section
  • Sway Control

Chassis

Inspection of the chassis should ensure that the overhead guard isn’t damaged, the suspension system doesn’t have any loose bolts and that the cab and engine are clean and free of any possible debris or fluids. Weld seams should be closely observed to make sure that there aren’t any cracks. By looking to see whether or not there’s any dirt accumulation or even paint cracks around the bolts, you can determine if the fasteners are tight enough.

It’s important also to look over the condition of the tires; inflation levels, the condition of the rims and lug nuts, and a check for any cuts, grooves, or worn treads should be done before driving the truck.

Boom and Components

The boom and its components ought to be thoroughly investigated for any possible dents, bends or distortions. Weld cracks are again something to keep an eye out for, as well as any possible leaking fluid. The hinge pin and any bosses should also be checked for any signs of wear from use.

Fork Section

Just like on a regular forklift, the condition of the fork section should be inspected for any leaking hydraulic fluids and worn out hoses; the backrest should be free from any damage, as should the forks themselves be clear of any bends or deformations. Pins and bosses should be checked for signs of wear.

Sway Control

 The mounting bolts on the sway control should be secure and intact; the cylinders shouldn’t have any weeping fluids.

Testing All Operations

Prior to moving any loads, the truck should be subject to a check of all functioning parts; this includes safety equipment such as seat belts, horns, lights and warning devices. The steering, parking brake, frame sway control and hydraulic systems should also go through a brief but attentive test to make sure everything is running well. It’s very important to also keep an eye on the gauges to make sure they’re all reporting correct information.

General Safety Guidelines

Even though a telescopic forklift operates differently from that of a normal forklift, the basic principles of safety when moving a load remain the same. Given the nature of the boom, there are some additional matters to keep in mind. As always, a qualified operator who is alert and free from any distractions should be the one controlling the machine. The following should always be kept in mind:

  • If necessary, all loads should be wrapped and secured to ensure they don’t tip or fall from the fork during transport.
  • The fork section should be in a reverse-tilt position when moving a load.
  • The pivot point of a telescopic forklift is found on the front wheels.
  • As the load moves farther from the pivot point, the center of gravity shifts forward.
  • The center of gravity should be kept within the vicinity of the engine.
  • Stability decreases as the boom extends and moves up and forward.
  • Loads should always be transported with the boom low to the chassis and close to the truck to ensure proper stability and cut down on the likelihood of a tilt.

Of course, ensuring safety when operating a telescopic forklift extends to beyond just that of the truck itself, it also involves maintaining a safe and clean work environment. Operators should always have a clear understanding of the area they’re working in. Always pay attention to:

  • Low-hanging doors and ceiling height.
  • Enclosed areas and narrow aisles.
  • The physical conditions of the work area: stable ground surfaces, debris, fluids, etc.
  • Ramps, inclines and how the grades affect transporting a load.

In general, pedestrian traffic should be kept at a minimum around an operating truck. The less people that are moving around the forklift, the less of a chance for there to be a potentially dangerous, if not fatal, accident. Workers should always wear the proper safety material in order to be well protected and easily seen by the operator of the truck.

These helpful guidelines will help you get the most out of your telescopic forklift, and you’ll be creating a safer work environment while doing so. Though the more complex nature of balancing the boom offers new challenges in terms of operation and maintenance, the benefits these trucks offer is very much worth it.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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