5 Most important Forklift Parts
If you were to look at a forklift as a whole, you could say every component is equally vital to the functionality of the machine. However, there are specific forklift parts that specialize in the safe operation of the machinery.
Let’s take a look at 5 of the most important forklift parts.
1) Cockpit controls
Imagine if the airplane you were flying had a cockpit malfunction while you were 4,000 ft up in the air. You’d probably end up plastered against a mountain. Even more relevant to the everyday man, imagine the same for your car. 9 times out of 10 you’ll end up crashing the vehicle.
Now imagine the accidents that could occur in the workplace with malfunctioning forklift cockpit controls. That would be a very unsafe work environment. Cockpit controls are one of the most important parts of a forklift because it allows the operator to control the machine. Therefore the driver can maneuver to avoid pedestrians, avoid dangerous situations, and generally go about performing their day to day job in a safe manner.
A cockpit malfunction or operation by an unskilled driver can lead to disaster. Not only would pedestrians be put at risk, but if the forklift were to crash or tip over, the driver would be placed in significant danger as well. This is why properly functioning cockpit controls is one of the most important parts of a forklift.
2) Warning indicators
In all OSHA compliant workplaces, workers know precisely when a forklift is rounding a corner. Why? Because of warning indicators. Warning indicators on a forklift often include beeps, lights, signals, horns and more. It’s the job of warning indicators to let workers know there is a forklift nearby.
You might think the horns and other audible warning indicators on a forklift may be enough, but sometimes they aren’t. It can be difficult to hone in on any single sound within a bustling warehouse or on a busy dock. With all the beeps, whistles and shouts that take place in workplaces like these workers tend to tune out the background noise so they can focus on their job. This makes them less aware of their surroundings.
That’s why forklifts also have warning lights, giving anyone nearby plenty of warning to get out of the way. Thus, it’s important that a forklift operator check all of their warning indicators before climbing into the vehicle. If even one warning indicator is not functioning correctly, an accident could occur.
The forks on your forklift (typically located on the front end of the forklift near the tires) are designed to lift and carry sizable loads.
It’s easy to take your forks for granted. They typically look sturdy enough to handle anything that’s designed to be lifted in a warehouse environment. However, if you attempt to lift a load that’s beyond the capacity of your forks or if they happen to be damaged, you’re just asking for trouble.
When forks are damaged in any way (bent, cracked, etc.), the danger to the forklift itself and to everyone in the immediate area can be immense. Imagine a forklift with cracked forks attempting to lift a heavy load. If those forks were to completely break off, the load will fall over and possibly crush someone nearby. There’s even a possibility the forklift itself could become unbalanced thus causing it to tip over and injure the driver. That’s not even counting the damage done to the cargo and the workplace.
Just like any car, truck or SUV if you have worn out tires you’re going to need a change fairly soon or risk an unfortunate, yet preventable, accident. It doesn’t matter if your tires are cracked, bald or simply worn out, it’s essential that you switch out your tires when you spot critical issues.
Driving on bad tires can make the forklift unstable which simply isn’t safe, especially if you’re transporting loads from one location to another. You could be in danger of blowing a tire or sliding along a slippery warehouse floor.
Forklifts aren’t designed with a suspension, which means the only thing separating you from the ground are your tires. With forklift tires being capable of typically supporting 10,000 lbs you would normally have nothing to worry about. However, what would happen if all four tires popped because they were too worn out to handle a significant load? You probably don’t need to be told of the potential dangers of such a scenario.
Your tires have the job of keeping your forklift moving and supporting the weight of the machine itself. Therefore the tires are one of the most important components of the forklift and should constantly be checked.
5) The driver
The most volatile and dangerous forklift “part” is easily the human element — the driver. It’s not faulty mechanical parts that lead to most forklift-related workplace accidents every year. A vast majority of these accidents occur because of operator error. Typically forklift accidents occur because the driver wasn’t paying attention, is undertrained, or simply didn’t react in time to avoid a collision.
We have yet to mass produce self-driving forklifts, so how do we fine tune this crucial yet volatile human element? With proper training of course! With adequate training, forklift drivers should learn all the information they need to properly and safely operate a forklift.
This includes learning how to operate the different types of forklifts that are relevant to a particular workplace, learning how to inspect a forklift and its various parts, and learning how to identify and avoid hazards. Training also includes checking the fluid levels of the machine and ensuring that the forklift runs as smoothly and safely as possible.
Many components contribute to the overall safe handling of a forklift, but the above are the most important forklift parts. When it comes to safe forklift handling, training is crucial. With the proper training, there will be fewer accidents, and the workplace will be far more efficient and safe.