how to inspect and maintain forklift forks

The inspection of the forklift truck forks is an essential part of maintenance and is important in ensuring the safe operation of the truck and safety of personnel.

Please consult ISO standard 5057 for full details on the methods of inspection of forklift forks. Below is a summary and meant as a guide only, not as a detailed method.

| Inspection and Maintenance

  • Inspection intervals

A full inspection of a forklift trucks forks should be carried out at intervals of 12 months or less. The more extreme use the more frequent the inspection should be.

Pre-operation. Lift truck forks should be inspected as part of a pre-operation (pro-ops) check and the findings recorded.

  • Trained Personnel

Inspections should be carried out by trained personnel.

  • Damaged

Damaged/worn/deformed forklift truck forks or tines should be removed from use and only returned when repaired or rerated for use. The full length of the forks need inspecting, including the fork tips.

  • Fork wear

Check the thickness of the forks at the heel and compare against the thickness of the shank. The shank is a none wearing part and its thickness represents the original thickness of the forks when they were new. The forks need to be replaced if they are worn by 10% or more of their original thickness.

  • At 10% wear the lifting capacity of the forks has reduced by 20%
  • Fork wear is often caused by the forks not being correctly used and dragging along the floor.
  • Cracks

Inspect for cracks in the surface of the forks. Critical areas that are welded during production such as the top and bottom hooks and the inner heel. Cracks should not be repaired by welding.

  • Straightness

Check the straightness of the length of the fork and check to see if they are “bent” down.

  • Angle

Compare the upper fork face of the blade with the load face of the shank. This angle needs to be compared with the original angle when forks were new. Ideally this angle should be 90 ͦ. The angle should be checked against the original angle, some forks are manufactured with angles less than 90 ͦ.

  • Fork tip pair height

Compare the forklift truck fork tips height when mounted on the carriage.

  • Hooks

Check the hooks, the parts that hook on to the carriage of the truck, for wear.

  • Locking pins

The forklift fork locking pins prevent the forks moving on the carriage. Check the locking devices are functioning correctly, holding the forks in position and are not damaged

  • Markings

On the side of the forks should be markings which include load capacity, load centre, manufacturer, manufacturing date. If these are not visible remove the forks from use.

How to inspect forklift forks

| Inspection of Forklift Truck Forks with Wear Calipers/gauge

To make it easier to inspect the critical dimensions of forklift truck forks then you can use fork callipers/gauge.

forklift fork wear caliper gauge
Fork Wear Caliper Gauge

| Forklift Truck Fork Repairs

Repairs to forklift truck forks should be only be carried out by fully qualified personnel and in accordance with the appropriate standards and manufacturers guidelines. It is important for the repairer to fully understand the type of material and methods to manufacture the fork and the application it will be used in. Drilling or welding forks will weaken them.

| Regulations and Guidance

Regulations governing the production, use and inspection/maintenance of forklift truck forks.

  • ISO 2328 – Specifies dimensions, and additional requirements for, fork carriers and hook-on type forks, up to and including a rated capacity of 10999kg
  • ISO 2330 – Specifies manufacturing, testing and marking requirements for solid-section forks. Covers all types of mounting, including hook, shaft/pin, bolt-on and roller types.
  • ISO 5057 – specifies methods for inspection, repair and testing for forks.
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
  • ISO 2330 stipulates that the forks are permanently marked for identification. If the markings are no longer visible, then they should be removed from use.
    • The forks must be marked on the side with the following information:
      • Load capacity
      • Load centre
      • Manufacturer
      • Manufacturing date, year, month and day

| Common Terminology

forklif tfork and tine commonly used terms
Forklift Fork Terminology

| Fork Dimensions

measurements and dimensions of forklift forks
Fork Dimensions

| Related Guides

| Related Products

Forklift Fork Wear Caliper Gauge

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