Know When to Replace Forklift Forks

by Trey Barber, on December 20, 2019 at 9:54 AM

Know When to Replace Forklift ForksWaiting too long to replace worn-out forklift forks will eventually lead to a dropped load and damaged product and that’s the best-case scenario. A snapped or bent fork can also cause deadly accidents. That’s why OSHA requires all powered industrial trucks, including forks, be examined daily or after each shift if the forklift gets used 24/7.

The good news is, this type of accident is easily preventable. Regular fork inspections can ensure your forklift forks get replaced before they create a hazard. Learn more about how to inspect forklift forks and know when to replace them.

How to Inspect Forklift Forks

Over time, forklift forks will bend, crack, or wear down. They just don’t last forever. Accidents, improper chain adjustments, and lifting loads beyond the truck’s rated capacity can shorten the life of your forks.

The important thing is to identify signs of wear and replace the forks before they fail. Here are five warning signs every forklift operator should know:

  1. More than 10 percent wear - the metal on a fork gradually wears down. Just ten percent wear can reduce load capacity by 20 percent. It can be hard to notice over time, so use forklift calipers to measure the shaft. Then compare your base measurement to the thickness of the fork blade, heel and hook.
  2. If the shank or the blade are bent more than 93 degrees, replace the fork(s). Bending the fork back into place is not a fix, it’s a dangerous cosmetic repair
  3. Surface cracks - they typically appear in the heel area and around welds.
  4. Bent or worn fork hooks - inspect using a caliper, check for wear and straightness. If the lip of the hook touches the back of the caliper, the fork(s) must be replaced.
  5. Uneven blade height - the tips of both forklift blades should be at (roughly) the same height. If the difference is more than three percent of the blade length, it's time to replace the forks. For example, if the forklift blade is 48” long, the difference in height between the tips should not exceed 1.44”.

Forklift Fork Inspection Done Right

Prevent accidents and avoid OSHA fines by ensuring operators know how to inspect your trucks. If you’re not sure whether your team is on top of things:

Buy Forklift Forks Near Seattle or the Tri-Cities

MidColumbia Material Handling has high-quality replacement forks for nearly any application, lifting capacity, make or model including:
  • Carpet forks
  • ITA hook-style forks
  • Lumber forks
  • Shaft-mounted forks

Questions? Ask an expert. Contact us online or by phone:

Auburn 253-854-5438
Pasco 509-547-7413
Wenatchee 509-663-9009
Yakima 509-457-5137

Further Reading
Get a Forklift Maintenance Quote
Request a Forklift Part
The Most Commonly Replaced Forklift Parts 

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Material handling articles to help answer the questions you have about forklifts, aerial equipment, utility vehicles, warehouse optimization, and safety.

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