When it comes to accidents with forklifts, operators know that forklift maintenance mistakes should be avoided at all costs. Even a single forklift accident can result in serious injury or even death. Forklift accidents can also be very expensive.

Without proper maintenance and repair, an accident related to forklift operation is not just likely, it’s pretty much a guarantee. Here is a quick guide to the top five forklift maintenance mistakes and how to avoid them.

5 Common Forklift Maintenance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Forklift operation can result in a slew of serious injuries. Forklift tipping is one of the most common accidents. It is also common for operators to fail to wear a seatbelt or proper safety equipment.

Roughly 85 forklift fatalities and 34,900 serious injuries related to forklift operations occur every year. Forty-two percent of the forklift fatalities occur due to the forklift tipping over.

Here is a list of the most common and easily avoidable forklift maintenance mistakes.

1. Failing to Properly Train Forklift Operators

The best way to avoid forklift accidents is to ensure you properly train all of your forklift operators.

OSHA requires that employers train and evaluate each forklift operator on an individual basis. Operators must receive formal instruction, practical training, and undergo regular performance evaluations.

It is recommended to retrain all operators every three years to ensure compliance with updated safety measures. 

2. Failing to Check for Safe Floor Conditions

A forklift is only as safe as the environment in which it operates.

When operating a forklift outdoors, is important to check for uneven or unstable ground. Uneven ground could mean potholes or other obstacles. Mud, snow, ice, soft soil, and gravel can also cause unstable ground.

When operating a forklift inside of a warehouse, you will need to clear the floor of obstacles such as narrow corridors, dust, and debris. You should also ensure that floor surfaces are dry and free of any water or oil spills.

3. Failing to Perform Pre-Operation Inspections

In order to comply with OSHA standards, all forklifts must pass inspection before being used. It is important to check for leaks, equipment failure, or other damage.

Each operator should perform a visual check while the forklift is turned off. They should turn on the forklift and perform an operational check.

Here is a sample daily checklist for powered industrial vehicles.

4. Failing to Regulate Load Capacity

Make sure all of your operators know their forklift’s maximum load capacity. They should also know the load center. Failing to load the forklift properly will lead to tipping.

5. Failing to Conduct Proper Brake Maintenance

Regular forklift maintenance is an absolute imperative. You will avoid many potential disasters by making sure your forklift brakes are functioning properly.

Check the brake fluid level, brake pedal, and parking brake before every shift. 

Forklift Safety Takeaways

The best way to avoid forklift maintenance mistakes is to provide regular maintenance for forklifts, daily inspections, and formal forklift training to your operators.

If you’re in the Nashville or Fort Worth areas, your top resource for forklift equipment, service, and training is Superior Industrial Products.

Check out their types of forklifts and heavy equipment from trusted brands like Columbia, Genie, and Flux Power.