To the average person, a set of forks will look as good as new as long as they haven’t sustained any obvious physical damage. The truth is wear begins the first day of use, and at some point the forks will need to be replaced.
Forks should be visually inspected every day or at the beginning of every work shift for visible damage. Then per ANSI/ITSDF B-56.1 standards, forks in use shall be inspected at intervals of not more than 12 months (for single shift operations) or whenever any defect or permanent deformation is detected.
Severe applications will require more frequent inspection.
Individual Load Rating of Forks – When forks are used in pairs (the normal arrangement), the rated capacity of each fork shall be at least half of the manufacturer’s rated capacity of the truck, and at the rated load center distance shown on the lift truck nameplate
There is a lot more, read on to review the ANSI/ITSDF requirements.
Forklift Fork Inspection:
Fork inspection should be carried out carefully by trained personnel with the aim of detecting any damage, failure, deformation, etc., which might impair safe use. Any fork that shows such a defect must be withdrawn from service, and shall not be returned to service unless it has been satisfactorily repaired in accordance with para. 126.96.36.199.
- Surface Cracks
The fork shall be thoroughly examined visually for cracks and if considered necessary, subjected to a non-destructive crack detection process, special attention being paid to the heel and welds attaching the mounting components to the fork blank. This inspection for cracks must also include any special mounting mechanisms of the fork blank to the fork carrier including bolt-type mountings and forged upper mounting arrangements for hook or shaft-type carriages. The forks shall not be returned to service if surface cracks are detected.
- Straightness of Blade and Shank
The straightness of the upper face of the blade and the front face of the shank shall be checked. If the deviation from straightness exceeds 0.5% of the length of the blade and/or the height of the shank, respectively, the fork must not be returned to service until it has been repaired in accordance with para. 188.8.131.52.
- Fork Angle (upper face of blade to load face of the shank)
Any fork that has a deviation of greater than 3° from the original specification must not be returned to service. The rejected fork shall be reset and tested in accordance with para. 184.108.40.206.
- Difference in Height of Fork Tips
The difference in height of one set of forks when mounted on the fork carrier shall be checked. If the difference in tip heights exceeds 3% of the length of the blade, the set of forks shall not be returned to service until repaired in accordance with para. 220.127.116.11.
- Positioning Lock (when originally provided)
It shall be confirmed that the positioning lock is in good repair and correct working order. If any fault is found, the fork shall be withdrawn from service until satisfactory repairs have been affected.
- Fork Blade and Shank – The fork blade and shank shall be thoroughly checked for wear, special attention being paid to the vicinity of the heel. If the thickness is reduced to 90% of its original thickness, the fork shall not be returned to service.
- Fork Hooks (where originally provided) – The support face of the top hook and the retaining faces of both hooks shall be checked for wear, crushing and other local deformations. If these are apparent to such an extent that the clearance between the fork and the fork carrier becomes excessive, the fork shall not be returned to service until repaired in accordance with para. 18.104.22.168.
- Legibility of Marking (when originally provided)If the fork marking in accordance with para. 7.27.2 is not clearly legible, it shall be renewed. Marking shall be renewed per instructions from original supplier.
Sound like a lot? We would like to point out that this sort of inspection may be better done by individuals who have done it frequently, and fully understand how to use the measuring tools available. That said you can watch this video to see how the Cascade tool is used. If you click on the image at the lead in to this article you can access Cascade’s fork safety guide.
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