The forklift is the staple of the modern warehouse. A well-functioning forklift makes operations both efficient and profitable. Yet, if a company’s forklifts aren’t up to par the site’s performance will suffer as well. Even worse, the work site can be at risk for serious safety issues. Regular maintenance of forklifts is of the utmost importance. Here, we’ll look at five ways forklift maintenance can impact warehouse safety.
The Dangers of Emissions
Some forklifts, like cars, emit exhaust fumes during use. These fumes contain dangerous air pollutants that can cause cancer and respiratory disease. Diesel forklifts produce dangerous gases such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are nausea, vomiting, headaches and vision problems. Carbon monoxide from a forklift can even cause unconsciousness or death.
When it comes to harmful emissions the most effective forklift maintenance is prevention. Warehouse employees should keep accurate records of the truck’s usage and mechanical issues. Exhaust fume measurements will help ensure compliance with forklift emission standards. In some cases, it is better to use a clean fuel or electric vehicle. Exhaust fumes from propane powered forklifts are a lot safer.
Hazardous Tire Conditions
Don’t overlook the condition of a forklift’s tires. Tires play a major role in stabilizing the load and maintaining fuel efficiency. Inspecting tires daily is important. Damaged tires should be removed or replaced as soon as possible. A flat tire can make the forklift tip over and cause an accident. This would likely cause serious injury to the driver and nearby employees.
Unsafe tires can also cause problems for the warehouse facility itself. Bald tires can affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. If a driver spins or skids out of control it can result in property damage to racks, doors, manufacturing machines and walls. It can also destroy nearby inventory or other forklifts.
Another tire hazard to check for is chunking. Unlike car tires, forklift tires tend to lose chunks of rubber due to driving on rough surfaces. Chunking will affect the smooth ride of the vehicle. It also causes the load to bounce around and become unstable. It can also make the driver more fatigued because they will have to take extra care while driving. Chunking on tires can increase the likelihood of accidents.
Hidden Fluid Leaks
Regular fluid checks can help keep your forklift in tip-top condition. Even a new forklift needs top-offs of hydraulic fluid, engine oil and transmission fluids. These substances help the motor and other parts to function efficiently. Drivers should check fluid levels on a consistent basis. Regular checks will ensure that no flammable liquids are leaking onto the work site or floor. By making sure fluid levels are at an optimal level will also help extend the life of the vehicle.
Faulty Gauges and Warning Lights
Newer forklifts are unlikely to have problems with warning lights or gauges. However, drivers should inspect older machines to make sure the devices are functioning properly. Lights and gauges are an employee’s first line of defense against forklift accidents. It is impossible to perform preventative maintenance when these features are not working. Inoperable gauges also give a driver a false sense of security while working. This can cause unsafe situations for everyone in the warehouse.
Battery Charges and Changes
Care must be taken when working with a forklift battery. This is especially true with electric forklifts which use heavy, lead-acid batteries. Warehouse safety rules should designate one part of the facility for battery charging and changing. This will minimize the risk to staff and inventory if something should happen.
Certain employees need to be specially trained to handle battery issues. These employees will need to understand the dangers associated with handling batteries. This includes understanding how to deal with battery acid leaks, hydrogen gas emissions, and battery cell burns. Protective clothing and gloves are also essential to a safe battery changing process.
A Final Word on Forklift Safety
Forklift safety starts with daily inspections. It also requires a thorough scheduled maintenance plan to address potential problems beforehand. Maintaining a forklift should not be taken likely. Industrial trucks are powerful machines that can become dangerous at any time.
If you need assistance with forklift maintenance in Reno contact us for additional information. We can help you find the best solution for your warehouse needs.