Looking for cracks, defects or bent parts that need replacing should occur on an annual basis as worn or cracked forks can fail without warning and lead to a disastrous and potentially fatal accident.
Signs for damage include wear beyond 10 percent, bent forks, and uneven forks. As part of your inspection routine, don’t forget to look for the following:
- Rated load capacity: Are the forks you are using rated to carry the loads they are handling?
- Surface cracks: Are there visible cracks on the top or bottom of the forks?
- Straightness of the blade and shank: Does the shank or the blade have any sort of bend?
- Excessive angle: Does the shank or blade angle exceed 93 degrees?
- Fork tip height variances: Do the tips of your forks exceed 3% of the length of the blade?
- Positioning lock: Is the positioning lock inoperable?
- Normal wear: Use calipers to measure the heel and the blade for wear. These are the areas that wear more quickly. Is the fork wear at least 10%? 10% wear results in a 20% reduction in rated fork capacity and represents a significant exposure for accident.
If you can answer yes to any of these questions or discover other fork damage you will need to take the truck out of service immediately and replace the forks.