Fork Inspection Insures Safety

01 March 2017

Periodically inspect forks for any signs of damage ... learn more.

The forks are often taken for granted and their inspection is often limited just to a visual check, however proper fork inspection insures safety for the operator, equipment and load.  It is essential that the forks are inspected periodically for any signs of damage such as:
  • Fork markings not legible
  • A blade or shank that is not straight
  • Positioning lock not in working order
  • Fork angle from blade to shank is not straight
  • Wear on the fork's blade, shank or hooks
  • Difference in height of fork tips
forklift forks
TVH recommendations:
  • Do not use forks that are displaying surface cracks, as revealed by the dye penetrant inspection, since their load rating cannot be determined accurately.
  • Pay special attention to the heal and to the welds attaching all mounting components to the fork where cracks are more likely to occur.
  • Do not overload the forks.  Overloading my bend and weaken forks.
  • Never operate a forklift on which the information markings on the forks have been removed, since the load capacity cannot be verified.
  • Do  not operate a forklift from which the positioning lock has been removed or is inoperable.  As the forklift travels, the positioning lock holds the forks in position and prevents sliding of the forks and loss of the load.
  • Wear vs. Capacity ... Forks are constantly subjected to abrasion by concrete floors, steel shelving, etc.   A fork reduced by 10% in blade thickness has lost 20% of its original strength and should not continue to be used.
Inspection of Forks ....
  • Always inspect forks during the pre-operation inspection.  This can be easily done using a fork caliper to compare the fork shank and the blade to determine wear.
  • Every six months, a more thorough test should be performed using a dye penetrant kit to detect cracks on the fork's surface.
Fork dye kit caliper