You just purchased a new forklift. Along with your purchase you made sure your forklift operators were trained properly. Operators’ knowledge of safe lifting capacity equals a lower risk of property damage, injury or death.
Your forklift was shipped from the manufacturer with a data plate indicating lift capacities at various heights based on its equipment options, for example, side shifters, carton clamps or other attachments. Once you put the forklift into service, there are several factors that can, over time, dramatically reduce the safe lifting capacity of that forklift. Below we have highlighted the major factors effecting lift capacity.
Forks – The continual use of forklifts results in normal fork wear. The amount and rate at which they wear depends upon the weight of the loads handled, how they are handled (what type of substrate is coming in contact with the fork) and how often loads are handled (duty cycles). A 10% reduction in fork surface (wear) results in a 20% reduction in the safe lifting capacity of your forklift. A forklift rated to lift 5,000lbs is reduced to 4,000lb once the forks are 10% worn. At this point the forks must be replaced.
Daily Inspections are required by OSHA – While a daily measurement of fork wear is not required, it is good practice to conduct a fork wear inspection on a regular basis, based on previous “FORK” criteria previously mentioned. During daily inspections, forks should be visually inspected for cracks or bends. Both reduce the safe lifting capacity of your forklift and create a dangerous operating condition.
If the load you are carrying changes requiring a need to use longer forks, the load center changes. This results in a reduction of safe lifting capacity. It will be important that you work with the manufacturer to determine the new safe lifting capacity of your forklift with the new fork configuration.
Chains – Chains should be inspected as part of any normal Planned Maintenance Program. Your service technicians should be properly trained to measure chains to determine when they need to be replaced. When a 3% elongation results in a 15% reduction in safe lifting capacity the chains should be replaced. Never attempt repairs on chains that are worn. Replacing them with the proper chains per manufacturer’s specifications is recommended to ensure a safe working environment for your employees.
Load Center – The data plate on your forklift indicates safe load capacities at given fork load centers. Not every pallet received by your facility is loaded according to the forklift manufactures specifications. It is important for safe operation to recognize and adjust your lifting practices to ensure safe handling of materials. As a rule, for every inch beyond the manufacturers recommended fork load center, one hundred pounds of lifting capacity is lost at a lowered height of six to eight inches.
Upon replacing the following, verify:
- Tires – Verify they meet manufacturer’s specifications. Especially if changing the type (cushion or pneumatic) or the size.
- Batteries – Verify they meet manufacturer’s specifications. If you have purchased a used forklift this can be an issue. Seek assistance from a professional that you are equipping it with the proper battery.
- Attachments – Anytime you add an attachment of any kind, regardless of how benign it may seem, work with a professional or the manufacturer to determine if the attachment affects safe lifting capacity – if so, how much.
- Engines – You might never replace an engine. But if you do, be certain the replacement engine meets or exceeds the weight of the current engine and that the configuration of the replacement engine does not affect the center of gravity of the forklift. This is particularly important if you purchase used forklifts. Ask the seller if the engine has been replaced or altered in any dramatic fashion. If it has, be sure the forklift has been re-rated for safe lifting capacity.
There are sites on the Internet like www.lifttruckcapacitycalculator.com that can assist you in re-rating your forklifts after minor changes such as attachments or other alterations that may affect their safe lifting capacity.
Working with a partner like Cal-Lift to institute and manage a Planned Maintenance Program is the best way to guarantee that your forklift fleet is always operating safely and your employees are not in danger. Planned Maintenance Programs have also been proven to be the best way to maximize the productivity of your forklift fleet by reducing down-time. These programs will pay for themselves over and over again throughout the life of your forklifts.
Cal-Lift is once again proud to be a major sponsor of the Distribution Management Association’s 2018 Golf Outing / Fund Raiser. The DMA’s Mission is “To facilitate involvement, partnerships, professional development and connections for its members and the community.” DMA focuses assisting in logistics management in Southern California by providing support services to help its members recruit and train employees to maximize operational excellence. Below is a video of last year’s event:
Cal-Lift is proud to be a support of the DMA in Southern California. To learn more about the DMA, please visit their website.
CLARK’s new Lithium Ion battery powered pallet jack, weighs in at less than 300lbs, but can carry quite a load and improve productivity in your materials handling operation. See the features and advantages of this little workhorse, then contact us for a quote or call us at 800-322-LIFT.
BYD, (Building Your Dreams), the company has been revolutionizing the rechargeable battery since 1995 has announced that Cal-Lift Inc. has earned the Dealer of the Year Award for 2017.
Cal-Lift is honored to have received this award, having placed more lithium iron phosphate batteries (Le) forklifts in service than any other dealer in America. We are very pleased with the way that the Southern California materials handling, storage and distribution market has embraced lithium battery technology.
Our customers are seeing safer and more efficient electric forklift operations. No battery changing stations, one battery per truck and each battery is warrantied for ten years. And with a proven company like BYD standing by the product, it reduces fears of being “early adopters” of this technology.
We look forward to even more success with BYD products and their fleet offerings are expanded and more companies become aware of the savings and safety improvements of the BYD products.
To learn more about BYD forklifts, please visit their website. To see our line-up of BYD electric forklifts, please visit our BYD forklift showroom. Photos are below of the presentation.
Safety is one of the primary pillars of a productive and profitable material handling operation. Unfortunately, most small to mid-size companies to not have the resources for a safety and compliance manager, much less a safety department. OSHA has tools available to these companies, like yours, to help you not only gain compliance, but how to look at your operation with a “safety eye” and help you identify potential hazards before they become health, safety or legal issues.
OSHA’s Compliance Assistance QuickStart will help you identify the guidelines that apply to your operation, teach you how to survey your operation for potential hazards and violations, and assist you in developing a safety program to ensure compliance and a healthy, safe operation based on your individual needs.
Once you have established needs, OSHA’s tools help you learn how to train your employees to perform their functions safely and be on the lookout for potential safety hazards that might pop up unannounced. Finally, they help you keep records and learn how to report hazards and incidents when they occur to ensure you are maintaining compliance.
Need assistance in getting started? OSHA has you covered. The OSHA Free Consultation program provides you with access to an OSHA consultant who will schedule an appointment with you for a walk-through of your facility. During this consultation, you will receive a pre-inspection conference, a walk-through and a post-inspection conference. Following, the OSHA consultant will provide you with a written report of findings and agreed upon time frame for agreed upon abatement periods. Findings of this consultation will only be reported to OSHA if you fail to correct any serious hazards or situations that present an imminent danger.
The goal is to treat every potential hazard as if someone you love, were doing the job. Getting each of your employees and visitors home safely at night is the key to having them return tomorrow, ready to work, and work productively!
Cal-Lift is Southern California’s source for the industry’s top material handling equipment, including BYD lithium iron battery powered forklifts. To learn more about Cal-Lift Los Angeles, please visit our website.