Forklift trucks – common defects

The Thurra team of engineer surveyors are out in the field, in all sorts of workplaces, inspecting plant and equipment day-in day-out, so we asked them for their thoughts on the most common faults they find with forklift trucks and what you as users can do to help avoid life threatening accidents and costly insurance claims from arising.

Our engineers’ top 5 defects are as follows:

  1. Ineffective parking brakes – this defect should be picked up on daily checks. As with the parking brake on a car, if this is defective, it should be reported as a serious defect. However, our surveyor can risk-assess the client, the site and use of the truck, before deciding on an appropriate course of action.
  2. Inoperative / disconnected seat safety switches – again, should be picked up on a daily check. However, we often find these disconnected and it is apparent that the operators have carried this out. The seat switch should do one of three things: (1) cut the operation of the mast/fork controls; (2) bring the truck to a stop; or (3) just sound a warning alarm/provide a warning on the truck dash.
  3. Worn / distorted forks – the allowance for fork wear at the heels is 10% material loss. For deflection (the fork tip), this is calculated as 3% of the length of the fork. Check frequently against the original measurement.
  4. Seized load chain links – proper maintenance should prevent this. However, in harsh environments, cold store use, timber yards, the chain links can seize easily, so extra vigilance needed here.
  5. Ineffective / inoperative seat belts – again, should be picked up on a daily check. Quite often driver’s do not bother wearing them, but they should work in the correct manner. Common faults are the seat belt not locking, or the retaining clip not locking the belt in position.

If you require advice or help on any of the above, please speak to the usual contact at your Insurance Broker who will be happy to arrange a call to Thurra for technical advice, or a visit by an experienced engineer who will be happy to advise.

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