Friday, December 20, 2013

Operating the Forklift: Operational Inspection

Operational Inspection
After completing the pre-operation inspection, operators should conduct an operational inspection with the engine running. This inspection includes:
  • Accelerator linkage
     
  • Inch control (if equipped)
     
  • Brakes
     
  • Steering
     
  • Drive control: forward and reverse
     
  • Tilt control: forward and back
     
  • Hoist and lowering control
     
  • Attachment control
     
  • Horn
     
  • Lights
     
  • Back-up alarm (if equipped)
     
  • Hour meter
NOTE: Unusual noises or vibrations should be reported immediately.

Additional Information
  • Sample Daily Checklists for Powered Industrial Trucks. Note: Checklists are provided as a guide only and are not a substitute for complying with OSHA standards.
    • Checklists for internal combustion and electric trucks
    • Checklists for various truck types and sample generic checklist
Operational check of hoist and lowering control.
Figure 10. Operational check of hoist and lowering control.

Operator performing operational inspection of working lights.
Figure 11. Operator performing operational inspection of working lights.

Operator conducting operational inspection with engine running.
Figure 12. Operator conducting operational inspection with engine running.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Operating the Forklift: Pre-Operation

Pre-Operation

Employee performing pre-operation inspection.
Figure 1. Employee performing pre-operation inspection.
A vehicle that is in need of repair, defective or in any way unsafe should be removed from service. The problem should be recorded on a log and reported to a supervisor immediately. This section discusses pre-operation and operational inspections that operators should perform to ensure that forklifts will operate safely. Only operators who have been trained and evaluated in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.178(l) can operate forklifts.
  • Pre-Operation Inspection
  • Operational Inspection
  • Removal from Service
  • Maintenance
Note: For a brief overview of measurements that forklift operators should know to determine whether the forklift can do a task safely in the available space, see Critical Forklift Measurements.  



Operator checking fluid levels.
Figure 2. Operator checking fluid levels.

Operator checking condition of tires.
Figure 3. Operator checking condition of tires.

Operator checking condition of the forks.
Figure 4. Operator checking condition of the forks.

Operator inspecting the top clip retaining pin for the forks.
Figure 5. Operator inspecting the top clip retaining pin for the forks.

Operator ensuring that warning decals are in place and legible.
Figure 6. Operator ensuring that warning decals are in place and legible.

Operator checking the seat belt as part of the pre-operation inspection.
Figure 7. Operator checking the seat belt as part of the pre-operation inspection.

Operator inspecting the load backrest as part of the pre-operation inspection.
Figure 8. Operator inspecting the load backrest as part of the pre-operation inspection.

Operator ensuring that the operator manual is on board the forklift and legible.
Figure 9. Operator ensuring that the operator manual is on board the forklift and legible.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:

OSHA requires that all forklifts be examined at least daily before being placed in service. Forklifts used on a round-the-clock basis must be examined after each shift. [29 CFR 1910.178(q)(7)]

The operator should conduct a pre-start visual check with the key off and then perform an operational check with the engine running. The forklift should not be placed in service if the examinations show that the vehicle may not be safe to operate.

Remember!
A vehicle in need of repair, defective or in any way unsafe, should not be driven and should be taken out of service immediately. Any problems should be recorded on the appropriate documents and reported to a supervisor.
  • Before starting your vehicle, conduct a pre-operation (or pre-start) inspection that checks a variety of items, including but not limited to:

    • Fluid levels -- oil, water, and hydraulic fluid.

    • Leaks, cracks or any other visible defect including hydraulic hoses and mast chains. NOTE: Operators should not place their hands inside the mast. Use a stick or other device to check chain tension.

    • Tire condition and pressure including cuts and gouges.

    • Condition of the forks, including the top clip retaining pin and heel.

    • Load backrest extension.

    • Finger guards.

    • Safety decals and nameplates. Ensure all warning decals and plates are in place and legible. Check that information on the nameplate matches the model and serial numbers and attachments.

    • Operator manual on truck and legible.

    • Operator compartment. Check for grease and debris.

    • All safety devices are working properly including the seat belt.
In addition to this general inspection, additional items should be checked depending on the forklift type (electric or internal combustion, including liquid propane). These include but are not limited to:
  • Electric Forklifts

    • Cables and connectors for frayed or exposed wires

    • Battery restraints

    • Electrolyte levels

    • Hood latch
    Note: Always use personal protective equipment such as a face shield, rubber apron, and rubber gloves when checking electrolyte.
     
  • Internal Combustion Forklifts

    • Engine oil

    • Brake reservoir

    • Engine coolant

    • Air filter

    • Belts and hoses

    • Radiator

    • Hood latch

  • Liquid Propane Forklifts

    • Properly mounted tank

    • Pressure relief valve pointing up

    • Hose and connectors

    • Tank restraint brackets

    • Tank for dents and cracks

    • Tank fits within profile of truck

    • Leaks
    Note: Always use personal protective equipment such as a face shield, long sleeves, and gauntlet gloves when checking liquid propane tanks and fittings.
Additional Information
  • Sample Daily Checklists for Powered Industrial Trucks. Note: Checklists are provided as a guide only and are not a substitute for complying with OSHA standards.
    • Checklists for internal combustion and electric trucks
    • Checklists for various truck types and sample generic checklist

Friday, November 8, 2013

Operating the Forklift

Safely operating a forklift requires preparation, anticipation and careful attention in order to maintain control of the vehicle at all times. This module will identify recommended practices associated with each of the following operations:
  • Pre-Operation
    Inspect and maintain the forklift before use.
     
  • Traveling and Maneuvering
    Use good operating practices to prevent accidents.

  • Load Handling
    Identify the hazards and recommended practices for each step in the load handling process (including an in-depth discussion on Load Composition).
Additional Information:
  • Protecting Young Workers: Prohibition Against Young Workers Operating Forklifts. OSHA Safety and Health Bulletin, (2003, September 30). Also available as a 109 KB PDF. Given the significant number of young workers employed, especially during the summer months, OSHA and Wage and Hour Division (WHD) believe that it is important to remind all employers of the regulations that prohibit workers under 18 years of age from operating specified hazardous machines and equipment, including forklift trucks in non-agricultural operations.
     
  • Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Workers Who Operate or Work Near Forklifts. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-109, (2001, June). Forklift overturns are the leading cause of fatalities involving forklifts; they represent about 25 percent of all forklift-related deaths.

    Most fatalities occur when a worker is crushed by a forklift that has overturned or fallen from a loading dock. NIOSH investigations of forklift-related deaths indicate that many workers and employers:
    • May not be aware of the risks of operating or working near forklifts
    • Are not following the procedures set forth in the OSHA standards, consensus standards, or equipment manufacturer's guidelines.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts -> Tires & other safety / warning devices

Tires


Forklift tire.
Figure 1. Forklift tire.
There are several different types of forklift tires, depending on how the forklift is used. Common types of forklift tires include pneumatic, solid, and polyurethane. As part of the daily inspection of the forklift, check tire condition, including cuts and gouges, and check pressure for air-filled tires.










Other Safety and Warning Devices


Forklift operator using a seat belt.
Figure 1. Forklift operator using a seat belt.
 
Forklifts can incorporate many warning and safety devices to help protect operators, pedestrians, other forklift operators and others.










Warning and Safety Devices


Fire extinguisher.
Figure 2. Fire extinguisher.

Safety mirror with pedestrian in view.
Figure 3. Safety mirror with pedestrian in view.

Warning strobe light flashes as operator backs up.
Figure 4. Warning strobe light flashes as operator backs up.
Powered industrial trucks may be equipped by the manufacturer with the following safety devices:
  • Seat belts and similar restraints
     
  • Horns
     
  • Backup alarms that sound when forklift reverses
     
  • Fire extinguisher
     
  • Warning lights that flash
     
  • Directional signals and brake lights
     
  • Mirrors
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Equip every power-propelled truck with an operator-controlled horn, whistle, gong, or other sound-producing device. ANSI B56.1-1969 Incorporated by reference [29 CFR 1910.178(a)(2)]
     
  • Equip every truck with an operator-controlled horn, whistle, gong, or other sound-producing device. ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2005.
     
  • Where appropriate to the worksite, equip trucks with additional sound-producing or visual (such as lights or blinkers) devices. ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2005.
Additional Information:
  • OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-028 (CPL 2-1.28A) - Compliance Assistance for the Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training Standards (Nov. 30, 2000). Section 1910.178 does not currently contain requirements for the use of operator restraint systems. However, Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act requires employers to protect employees from serious and recognized hazards.
  • OSHA's Seat Belt Policy: OSHA's enforcement policy on the use of seat belts on powered industrial trucks in general industry is that employers are obligated to require operators of powered industrial trucks that are equipped with operator restraint devices, including seat belts, to use the devices.
  • ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2005 - Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts -> Overhead Guards


Overhead guard

An overhead guard is designed to protect the operator from falling objects.
  • Overhead Guard





Overhead Guard
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Use an overhead guard as protection against falling objects such as small packages, boxes, bagged material, etc., but not to withstand the impact of a falling capacity load. [29 CFR 1910.178(m)(9)]
     
  • Wear a hard hat when appropriate for additional protection.
     
  • Keep hands and feet within the forklift to avoid danger of falling loads.
     
  • Use a load backrest extension behind the forks whenever necessary to minimize the possibility of the load or part of it from falling rearward. [29 CFR 1910.178(m)(10)]
     
  • Equip all high-lift rider trucks, order-picker trucks and rough-terrain forklift trucks with an overhead guard manufactured in accordance with ANSI B56.1-1969, "Safety Standard for Low and High Lift Trucks," unless operating conditions do not permit. [29 CFR 1910.178(e)(1)]
     
  • As part of the daily inspection of the forklift, check the overhead guard for broken welds, missing bolts, or other damage.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts -> Battery

Recharging battery.
Figure 1. Recharging battery.


This section reviews the parts of batteries used in electric forklifts.
  • Parts of an Industrial Battery







Parts of An Industrial Battery
Electric forklift service personnel need to know the parts of an industrial battery in order to properly and safely handle it at the end of every shift. The parts of a industrial battery include:
This is a cutaway of an industrial battery showing the rugged plates, extra heavy grids and impact-resistant cases.
Figure 2. This is a cutaway of an industrial battery showing the rugged plates, extra heavy grids and impact-resistant case.
  • Cell: The interior of the battery is divided into cells, with each cell containing a set of alternately spaced positive and negative plates. A negative plate is contained at each end of the cell to maintain proper electrical balance. The battery's voltage is determined by the number of cells.
     
  • Separator: Separators are located between the plates for insulation. 
  • Battery tray: The cells are in a steel container called the battery tray.
     
  • Electrolyte: The cell elements are fully submerged in a sulfuric acid solution called the electrolyte.
     
  • Element: A positive and negative terminal is visible at the top of each cell. This assembly is known as the element. It is placed in the jar, the acid-proof, high-impact resistant container. A high-impact cover seals to the jar.
    • Positive terminal. All the positive plates are connected to the positive terminal.

    • Negative terminal. All the negative plates are connected to the negative terminal.
Potential Hazards:
  • Electrical shock.
     
  • Explosion.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Never accidentally create an electrical current by connecting the positive to the negative terminal through any part of your body or through any other conductor.
     
  • Never wear metal jewelry which will conduct electricity when working around batteries.
     
  • Never put metal articles or tools on top of the batteries or place conductive articles across the battery posts.
     
  • Always shut the charger off when connecting or disconnecting the battery. An arc or spark could cause an explosion.
     
  • Use only non-sparking, non-conductive tools.
     
  • Keep the vent plugs in place at all times except when adding water to the cells or taking hydrometer readings.
     
  • Check the battery cables and cable connectors regularly. If the insulation is worn or connector contacts are pitted, the truck should be removed from service and repairs made immediately.
     
  • Follow proper lockout/tagout procedures [29 CFR 1910.147] when working on a battery in a forklift.

Additional Information:
  • Electrical. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
  • Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout). OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts -> Instruments

Parts: Instruments


Fuel gauge.
Figure 7. Fuel Gauge

Fuel Gauge

The fuel gauge shows the amount of fuel remaining.

Requirements and Recommended Practices:

  • Do not operate while extremely low on fuel.
     
  • Check the fuel level during your daily inspections.
     
  • Refuel only in designated areas. Clean up any spills or mark the hazard area until it can be cleaned.

Hour Meter

Hour meter indicating the total time that forklift has been in service.The hour meter records the number of hours that a truck has been used. It should be recorded in your Daily Inspection Log. Maintenance is often scheduled by hours of truck use, so it is an important indicator.

Requirements and Recommended Practices:

  • Log the hours of use daily.
     
  • Do not exceed manufacturer's recommended hours in service.
     
  • Properly maintain vehicles according to manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule. Only trained and authorized personnel may service a forklift.

Battery Discharge Indicator

Battery low.Electric forklifts have a battery discharge indicator that shows when a battery charge is low. Some ways that battery gauges on the instrument panel indicate the battery is discharged are:
  • the warning light indicator is still on.
  • the gauge needle is in the warning zone.
  • a percentage indicator shows the battery charge level.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Return to the battery recharging area if the battery gauge is low.
  • Recharge the battery only if you are trained and authorized to do so.
For the procedures, see Battery Charging and Changing Procedures.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts-> Instruments

Parts: Instruments


Engine temperature gauge in the normal zone.
Figure 5. Engine temperature gauge in the normal zone.
The engine temperature gauge is similar to the engine temperature gauge found on a car or truck.
  • Engine temperature may be indicated by "C" for cold or green indicating safe operating temperature, while a hot, overheating engine may be indicated by an "H" for hot or red.
     
  • Refer to your owner's manual for the appearance and significance of your engine temperature gauge.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Do not operate a forklift if the light comes on or the gauge indicates an overheated engine.
     
  • Check for leaks. Clean up any spills or mark the hazard area until it can be cleaned.
     
  • Notify your supervisor or maintenance personnel.
     
  • Allow an overheated forklift to cool down before removing the radiator cap. When removing the cap, wear leather gloves and eye protection and open the cap slightly to check for stored pressure before completely removing the cap. Only trained and authorized personnel may service a forklift.

Transmission Temperature

Transmission temperature in normal range.The transmission temperature warning light or gauge indicates when the transmission temperature is too high.

Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Do not operate a forklift if the light comes on or the gauge indicates an overheated transmission.
     
  • Check for leaks. Clean up any spills or mark the hazard area until it can be cleaned.
     
  • Notify your supervisor or maintenance personnel.
     
  • Transmission fluid may need to be added. Only trained and authorized personnel may service a forklift.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts->Instruments

Parts: Instruments


Dashboard showing gauges on a forklift.
Figure 1. Dashboard showing gauges on a forklift.
Forklifts have a variety of instruments on the dashboard. Read your operator’s manual and become familiar with each of the warning lights and gauges on the dashboard. Never operate a forklift if a warning light or gauge signals an unsafe condition.
  • Instrument Panel
  • Oil Pressure Gauge
  • Temperature Gauge/Light
  • Transmission Temperature
  • Fuel Gauge
  • Hour Meter
  • Battery Discharge Indicator

Instrument Panel

These common forklift gauges show normal operating condition.Read your operator's manual and become familiar with each of the warning lights and gauges on the dashboard. Know what each one indicates. 


Potential Hazards:
  • Forklift malfunction
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Turn on the forklift and check all the warning indicators on your dashboard.
  • Never operate a forklift with a warning light or gauge signaling an unsafe condition. 
  • Do not attempt a repair unless authorized to do so.
  • Report any abnormality to your supervisor. 
  • Mechanical breakdown 
Typical warning gauges.

Oil Pressure Gauge

The oil pressure gauge indicates the oil pressure inside the engine. An oil pressure warning light may also be present.


Requirements and Recommended Practices:
    Electronic engine oil gauge, warning indicators.
  • Do not operate the forklift if the light comes on or the gauge indicates oil pressure problems. 
  • Check for leaks. Clean up any spills or mark the hazard area until it can be cleaned.
  • Notify your supervisor or maintenance personnel.
  • Only trained and authorized personnel may service a forklift. 

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts->Controls

Before operating a forklift, read and study the operator's manual discussion on controls. Locate each control and understand how to use each one.
  • Forward/Reverse Directional Controls
    The directional control allows the operator to move the forklift forwards or backwards. Directional controls can be column mounted (mounted on the steering column) or foot operated (controlled by shifting the accelerator pedal side to side).

  • Hydraulic Lift Controls
    Forklifts have hydraulic lift controls to raise and lower the forks and to tilt the forks. Visually inspect the hydraulic controls before each use and test that they are working properly. See Load Handling [covered later in our series] for more information on lifting loads.
     
  • Pedals
    Forklifts have accelerator and brake pedals that operate similarly to these pedals in other vehicles. Some forklifts also have a clutch, which allows shifting into higher forward gears.

    The inching pedal gives the operator more control of the forklift in tight places. See Steering, Turning and Changing Direction [covered later in our series] for more information on using inch pedals.

  • Parking Brake
    Forklifts are equipped with a parking brake. Be sure to set the parking brake when leaving a forklift and block the wheels if the forklift is parked on an incline. See Parking [covered later in our series] for more information on parking a forklift.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts->Danger, Warning & Caution labels

In addition to the nameplate, forklifts may have other warning labels or decals that provide safety information to operators. Safety labels should be clearly visible to the operator and must be replaced if missing, damaged, or illegible.

Under one classification system, there are three types of warning labels or decals:
  • DANGER means if the danger is not avoided, it will cause death or serious injury.
     
  • WARNING means if the warning is not heeded, it can cause death or serious injury.
     
  • CAUTION means if the precaution is not taken, it may cause minor or moderate injury.
Figures 1 and 2 show examples of warning labels.
Safety decal on forklift.
Figure 1. Safety decal on forklift.



The steps to take in a tip over of a sit-down counterbalanced forklift: Fasten seat belt, don't jump, hold on tight to steering wheel, brace feet, lean away from impact and lean forward. Note that the seat belt should already be fastened.
Figure 2. The steps to take in a tipover of a sit-down counterbalanced forklift: Fasten seat belt, don't jump, hold on tight to steering wheel, brace feet, lean away from impact and lean forward. Note that the seat belt should already be fastened.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts->Nameplate

Each operator is required to be aware of the truck specifications on the nameplate and what they mean. If there is a special attachment, it must be listed on the nameplate.
Nameplate
The nameplate (also called the data plate) provides important information for the forklift operator, including the fuel type, forklift weight, and capacity. Operators should read the nameplate to know the forklift’s capabilities and limitations.

Requirements and Recommended Practices:

OSHA requirements state:

"Approved trucks shall bear a label or some other identifying mark indicating approval by the testing laboratory. See paragraph (a)(7) of this section and paragraph 405 of "American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks, Part II, ANSI B56.1-1969", which is incorporated by reference in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and which provides that if the powered industrial truck is accepted by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, it should be so marked." [29 CFR 1910.178(a)(3)]
  • Train employees to properly read and understand the nameplate and to know what the information means.

  • Ensure every truck has its durable, corrosion-resistant nameplate legibly inscribed with the following information:

    • Truck model and serial number

    • Truck weight

    • Designation of compliance with the mandatory requirements of ASME B56.1, "Safety Standard for Low and High Lift Trucks," applicable to the manufacturer

    • Type designation to show conformance with the requirements, such as those prescribed by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., and Factory Mutual Research Corporation

    • Capacity
  • Do not operate a truck with an illegible or missing nameplate.
Additional Information:

ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 calls for additional information on nameplates on high-lift trucks, electric trucks, and trucks intended for use in hazardous locations. [See ANSI/ITSDF B56.1, "Safety Standard for Low and High Lift Trucks," Section 7.5, "Nameplates and Markings"]

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts -> Attachments

Attachments
Slipsheet attachment eliminates need for pallets.
Figure 2. Slipsheet attachment eliminates need for pallets.

Side-shifter controls enable the forks to be moved right and left.
Figure 3. Side-shifter controls enable the forks to be moved right and left.

Forklift equipped with a barrel clamp attachment.
Figure 4. Forklift equipped with a barrel clamp attachment.

Reach stacker used in marine terminals and longshoring.
Figure 5. Reach stacker used in marine terminals and longshoring.

Data plate for an attachment (sideshifter).
Figure 6. Data plate for an attachment (sideshifter).
Some common attachments are:
  • Slipsheet attachments which avoid the use of pallets. (Figure 2)
     
  • Sideshifters shift the forks right and left. (Figure 3)
     
  • Container handlers designed to lift shipping containers.
     
  • Carton clamps equipped with a pressure valve to squeeze the load.
     
  • Cotton or pulp bale clamps that grab and hold bales.
     
  • Paper roll handlers.
     
  • Barrel clamps. (Figure 4)
     
  • Rotators that grab and rotate the load.
     
  • Extending or telescoping forks such as in reach and turret trucks. (Figure 5)
     
  • Personnel platforms specially designed for lifting personnel.
Operators must be trained in the proper use of attachments because they alter the performance of the forklift. Attachments affect the truck's performance by changing its center of gravity, visibility, and capacity.

Potential Hazards:
  • Overloading. The weight of the attachment reduces the lifting capacity of the truck.
     
  • Tipover and falling loads. The attachment increases the load center by moving the load further away from the balance or fulcrum point.
Requirements:
  • Train operators in the fork and attachment adaptation, operation, and use limitations. [29 CFR 1910.178(l)(3)(i)(G)]
     
  • Retrain an operator if a new attachment is added to the forklift. Consult the operator's manual for instructions on how to use the new equipment.

  • Do not exceed the rated capacity of the forklift/attachment combination.
     
  • Know the mechanical limitations of your forklift.
     
  • Change capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals when a forklift truck is equipped with an attachment.
     
  • Treat an unloaded forklift with an attachment as partially loaded. [29 CFR 1910.178(o)(4)]

  • Include attachments in a scheduled maintenance and inspection program. Tailor inspection steps to the attachment.

    • Examine load-bearing components for deformation.

    • Examine load-bearing welds for cracks.

    • Inspect mechanical and hydraulic components and maintain in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the truck is equipped with front-end attachments other than factory installed attachments, request the truck be marked to identify the attachments and show the approximate weight of the truck and attachment combination at maximum elevation with load laterally centered. [29 CFR 1910.178(a)(5)]
     
  • Modifications or additions that affect capacity or safe operation shall not be performed without prior written approval from the forklift truck manufacturer. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals shall be changed accordingly. [29 CFR 1910.178(a)(4)]

    • If no response or a negative response is received from the manufacturer, written approval of the modification/addition from a qualified registered professional engineer is acceptable. A qualified registered professional engineer must perform a safety analysis and address any safety or structural issues contained in the manufacturer’s negative response before granting approval. The forklift nameplates must be changed accordingly.

    • See Forklifts: Free Rigging Requires Manufacturer's Approval, OSHA Standard Interpretation, (1999, October 22). Free rigging is the direct attachment to or placement of rigging equipment (slings, shackles, rings, etc.) onto the forks of a powered industrial truck for a below-the-forks lift. This type of lift does not use an approved lifting attachment. Although free rigging is a common practice, it could affect the capacity and safe operation of a powered industrial truck.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts-> Forks

The forks (also known as tines or blades) carry the load. They have a heel where they curve upward and an upright shank where they are attached to the carriage.

Forks
Damaged fork.
Figure 2. Damaged fork.
Potential Hazards:

A fork that shows any of the following defects shall be withdrawn from service and discarded or properly repaired:
  • Surface cracks.
     
  • Blade or shank are not straight.
     
  • Fork angle from blade to shank is not straight.
     
  • Difference in height of fork tips.
     
  • Positioning lock not in working order.
     
  • Fork blade or shank wear.
     
  • Fork hooks wear.
     
  • Fork marking not legible.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Do not operate the forklift if the forks show any of the defects listed above.
     
  • Always inspect forks during the pre-operation inspection. Repair or replace the forks if they are not in good working order. Replacement parts shall be equivalent as to safety with those used in the original design. [29 CFR 1910.178(q)(5)]
     
  • Do not operate a forklift from which the positioning lock has been removed or is inoperable. As the forklift travels, the positioning lock holds the forks in position and prevents sliding of the forks and loss of the load.
Additional Information:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts -> Mast Types

Mast Types
There are a number of mast types:
SIMPLEX:

The features of a simplex mast are:
  • Single stage mast.
     
  • Limited Free Lift (4-6") Free lift is the distance the forks go up before the mast is extended.
     
  • Recommended Use: In loading and unloading trucks and in areas where overhead clearance is a problem.
DUPLEX:

The features of a duplex mast are:
  • Two stage mast.
     
  • Has greater Free Lift (50-60") than the simplex mast.
     
  • Can load and unload higher-tiered stacks than simplex.
Triplex mast in narrow aisle rider reach truck. Note that the forklift is removing stock from a rack. Foot and truck traffic in the opposite aisle way should be controlled to prevent injury from falling materials.
Figure 2. Triplex mast in narrow aisle rider reach truck. Note that the forklift is removing stock from a rack. Foot and truck traffic in the opposite aisle way should be controlled to prevent injury from falling materials.
TRIPLEX:

The features of a triplex mast are:
  • Three stage mast.
     
  • Has same Free Lift (50-60") as duplex mast but extends further.
     
  • Can load and unload higher-tiered stacks than simplex or duplex.
 
QUAD:

The features of a quad mast are:
  • Four stage mast.
     
  • Has same Free Lift (50-60") as duplex or triplex mast but extends further.
     
  • Can load and unload higher-tiered stocks than the duplex or triplex, but requires precautions at its highest lifting heights.
Note: The lifting capacity of the forklift decreases as its load is raised. For more information, see Load Handling and Narrow Aisles.




Visibility
Mast configuration can affect the operator's visibility. Newer mast designs, such as those that use two side cylinders, can provide substantially improved visibility compared with some older mast designs that have a single central cylinder. (Figures 3 and 4)

The operator should travel with the load trailing and/or use a spotter whenever necessary to achieve adequate visibility.
 
Mast with central cylinder obscuring visibility.
Figure 3. Mast with central cylinder
obscuring visibility.
High visibility mast with hydraulic cylinders on the sides.
Figure 4. High visibility mast with
hydraulic cylinders on the sides.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Types & Fundamentals: Parts

Types & Fundamentals: Parts

Basic Parts of a Forklift
As we continue our look at these very useful but potentially lethal powered industrial trucks (PIT), we will take an in-depth look at the various parts.

The following are the major parts of a forklift. This discussion focuses on the most common types of forklifts. Be sure to read the operator's manual for your forklift and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Mast and Carriage
  • Forks
  • Attachments
  • Nameplate
  • Danger, Warning and Caution Labels
  • Controls
  • Instruments
  • Battery
  • Overhead Guard
  • Tires
  • Other Safety and Warning Devices

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Types & Fundamentals Part 14: Power Sources

Hydrogen Gas


Flammable hydrogen gas is always present during battery recharging. Hydrogen gas is potentially explosive if allowed to accumulate in a closed area.

Potential Hazards:
  • Ignition/explosion of accumulated hydrogen gas.
Requirements and Recommended Practice:
  • Post no smoking signs.
     
  • Use non-sparking tools.
     
  • Prevent open flames, sparks, or electrical arcs in the battery charging area to minimize the danger of explosion.
     
  • Provide adequate ventilation.
     
  • Open the battery cover when charging, so that the hydrogen gas can vent better. This is especially important in confined areas where the danger of accumulation is greatest.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sulfuric Acid Splash
Water is added at the end of the charge by operator wearing PPE.
Figure 9. Water is added at the end of the charge by operator wearing PPE.
Battery acid is dilute sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is a clear, colorless liquid with an acrid smell. It is corrosive and can cause severe burns.

Potential Hazards:
  • Acid splash, especially to the eyes.
  • Acid spill.
  • Corrosive burns.
Requirements and Recommended Practice:
  • Wear personal protective equipment:
    • Wear chemical splash goggles or full face shield with safety glasses equipped with side shields.
    • Wear acid-proof gloves made of rubber or neoprene.
    • Wear acid-resistant clothing or rubber or neoprene apron.
    • Wear acid-resistant safety shoes or boots.
  • Employees who wear contact lenses should wear chemical splash goggles during battery charging. In the event of an acid splash to the eyes, the contact lens could hold the acid to the eye, making it more difficult to flush the acid away and causing more serious damage to the eye.
Acid splash.
Figure 10. Acid splash.
Emergency Procedure in the Event of an Acid Splash

These are sample procedures. Your facility may have its own safety procedure, requiring employees to contact their supervisors or medical personnel either on-site or off-site. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet for additional information.

If the acid splash is to the eyes:
  1. Remove safety glasses and flush eyes with clean water in eyewash for 15 minutes.
  2. Seek medical attention immediately.
  3. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid splash is to the skin:
  1. Remove acid soaked clothing immediately.
  2. Flush acid contacted skin with clean water for 15 minutes.
  3. Seek medical attention immediately if redness or burns occur.
  4. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid is swallowed and the victim is conscious:
  1. Remove victim from battery area and provide fresh air.
  2. Wash out mouth with large amounts of water.
  3. Give victim milk to drink.
  4. Do not try to induce vomiting.
  5. Monitor victim's breathing and condition. Start CPR if victim stops breathing.
  6. Use NIOSH approved acid mist respirator, if OSHA PEL ( 1.0 mg/m3) is exceeded or if respiratory irritation occurs.
  7. Seek immediate medical attention.
  8. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid is swallowed and the victim is unconscious:
  1. Remove victim immediately from battery area and provide fresh air.
  2. Start CPR if victim stops breathing.
  3. Provide oxygen, if properly trained personnel are available.
  4. Seek immediate medical attention.
  5. Report the incident to your supervisor.
Sulfuric acid spill.
Figure 11. Sulfuric acid spill.
Sulfuric Acid Spill (In the event of battery breakage)
  1. Neutralize the spill with soda ash or baking soda. Use 1 pound of baking soda to 1 gallon of water.
  2. The acid reaction is complete when it stops fizzing. Make certain that the acid is neutralized by checking the pH is neutral between 6 and 8.
  3. Absorb neutralized material onto clay or other absorbent material, if necessary. If the spill is very large, contain the spill with earth or clay dikes.
  4. Brush under the battery connectors and remove all grime. Rinse the residue from the battery with clean water with a hose.
  5. Report the incident to your supervisor.
  6. Determine proper disposal by contacting local environmental authorities.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Types & Fundamentals Part 12: Power Sources

Battery Maintenance
Under normal operating conditions, power industrial truck forklift batteries can be expected to remain in service for 2,000 work shifts or charge/discharge cycles. Implementing a proper battery maintenance program can increase the life of the batteries and help protect employees. Battery failure could lead to mechanical breakdowns and possible accidents involving forklift operators and/or other personnel.
Discharging a battery beyond the manufacturer's recommended discharge level over works the battery making recharging more difficult and may damage or ruin the battery.
Figure 8. Discharging a battery beyond the manufacturer's recommended discharge level over works the battery making recharging more difficult and may damage or ruin the battery.
  • Do not continue a battery in service merely because it continues to deliver power.
     
  • Do not exceed the service hours in the manufacturer's recommendations.
     
  • Do not over charge or under charge batteries.
     
  • Avoid discharging batteries beyond the manufacturer’s discharge level. This can result in permanent battery damage and shorten battery life considerably.
     
  • Warning signs of a low battery include slow starting, dim headlights, and the ammeter indicating discharge at high RPM.
  • Recycle or properly dispose of batteries. Spent batteries are a hazardous waste unless they are properly reclaimed at a lead smelter or battery recycler.




Sulfuric Acid Splash
Water is added at the end of the charge by operator wearing PPE.
Figure 9. Water is added at the end of the charge by operator wearing PPE.
Battery acid is dilute sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is a clear, colorless liquid with an acrid smell. It is corrosive and can cause severe burns.

Potential Hazards:
  • Acid splash, especially to the eyes.  
  • Acid spill.  
  • Corrosive burns.
Requirements and Recommended Practice:
  • Wear personal protective equipment:
    • Wear chemical splash goggles or full face shield with safety glasses equipped with side shields.
    • Wear acid-proof gloves made of rubber or neoprene.
    • Wear acid-resistant clothing or rubber or neoprene apron.
    • Wear acid-resistant safety shoes or boots.
  • Employees who wear contact lenses should wear chemical splash goggles during battery charging. In the event of an acid splash to the eyes, the contact lens could hold the acid to the eye, making it more difficult to flush the acid away and causing more serious damage to the eye.
Acid splash.
Figure 10. Acid splash.
Emergency Procedure in the Event of an Acid Splash

These are sample procedures. Your facility may have its own safety procedure, requiring employees to contact their supervisors or medical personnel either on-site or off-site. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet for additional information.

If the acid splash is to the eyes:
  1. Remove safety glasses and flush eyes with clean water in eyewash for 15 minutes.  
  2. Seek medical attention immediately.  
  3. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid splash is to the skin:
  1. Remove acid soaked clothing immediately.  
  2. Flush acid contacted skin with clean water for 15 minutes.  
  3. Seek medical attention immediately if redness or burns occur.  
  4. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid is swallowed and the victim is conscious:
  1. Remove victim from battery area and provide fresh air.  
  2. Wash out mouth with large amounts of water.  
  3. Give victim milk to drink.  
  4. Do not try to induce vomiting.  
  5. Monitor victim's breathing and condition. Start CPR if victim stops breathing.  
  6. Use NIOSH approved acid mist respirator, if OSHA PEL ( 1.0 mg/m3) is exceeded or if respiratory irritation occurs.  
  7. Seek immediate medical attention.  
  8. Report the incident to your supervisor.
If the acid is swallowed and the victim is unconscious:
  1. Remove victim immediately from battery area and provide fresh air.  
  2. Start CPR if victim stops breathing.  
  3. Provide oxygen, if properly trained personnel are available.  
  4. Seek immediate medical attention.  
  5. Report the incident to your supervisor.
Sulfuric acid spill.
Figure 11. Sulfuric acid spill.
Sulfuric Acid Spill (In the event of battery breakage)
  1. Neutralize the spill with soda ash or baking soda. Use 1 pound of baking soda to 1 gallon of water.  
  2. The acid reaction is complete when it stops fizzing. Make certain that the acid is neutralized by checking the pH is neutral between 6 and 8.  
  3. Absorb neutralized material onto clay or other absorbent material, if necessary. If the spill is very large, contain the spill with earth or clay dikes.  
  4. Brush under the battery connectors and remove all grime. Rinse the residue from the battery with clean water with a hose.  
  5. Report the incident to your supervisor.  
  6. Determine proper disposal by contacting local environmental authorities.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Types & Fundamentals Part 11: Power Sources

Battery Charging and Changing Procedures 
The battery charge gauge indicates over-discharging.
Figure 3. The battery charge gauge indicates over-discharging.
 
An electric forklift is designed to operate for one shift and then be charged on the next shift or overnight. Some employers routinely change batteries instead of charging them in the vehicle. The discharged battery is removed from the forklift and a charged battery is installed in its place.

Only trained personnel should charge and change batteries in electric forklifts. In addition to training in battery changing and charging procedures, these employees should be trained on emergency procedures in the event of an acid splash, including how to use eyewash and shower facilities.

Potential Hazards:

  • Batteries are very heavy.
  • Batteries contain sulfuric acid that is highly corrosive and could be splashed on personnel servicing or changing batteries.
  • Toward the end of the battery charging process, batteries can give off highly explosive hydrogen fumes.
  • Contact with battery cells can cause electrical short circuits, which can burn unprotected skin. 
Requirements and Recommended Practices:

Always follow your facility's specific safety procedures. Follow the recharger manufacturer's recommendations for attaching and removing cables and for proper operation of your equipment.

Electric forklift properly positioned while changing battery.
Figure 4. Electric forklift properly positioned while changing battery.

Battery hoisted from forklift compartment with lifting beam.
Figure 5. Battery hoisted from forklift compartment with lifting beam.

Battery charging area.
Figure 6. Battery charging area.

Eyewash station.
Figure 7. Eyewash station.
  • Properly position trucks and apply brakes before attempting to change or charge batteries. (Figure 4) [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(8)]
  • Use a lifting beam or equivalent material handling equipment when lifting the battery. (Figure 5) Do not use a chain with two hooks. This may cause distortion and internal damage. [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(4)]
  • Charge batteries in the designated battery charging area. (Figure 6) [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(1)]
  • Facilities shall be provided for flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte, for fire protection, for protecting charging apparatus from damage by trucks, and for adequate ventilation for dispersal of fumes from gassing batteries. [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(2)]
    • NOTE: OSHA Directive, STD 1-11.4 - 29 CFR 1910.178(g)(2); Battery Charging Stations for Fork Lifts and Other Industrial Trucks, 10/30/1978 states:
      "Battery charging" areas where power industrial truck batteries are charged only--no maintenance is performed, batteries are not removed from the trucks and no electrolyte is present in the area--are not subject to the requirement of [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(2)]. The charging areas shall be in compliance with [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(1), (8), (9), (10), (11) and (12)]. Personal protective equipment shall be used when and where required.
  • When charging batteries, pour acid into water. Never pour water into acid. [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(7)]
  • Care shall be taken to assure that vent caps are functioning. The battery (or compartment) cover(s) shall be open to dissipate heat. [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(9)]
  • Prohibit smoking in the charging area. [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(10)]
  • Take precautions to prevent open flames, sparks, or electric arcs in battery charging areas. [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(11)]
  • Remove all metallic jewelry before recharging. Tools and other metallic objects shall be kept away from the top of uncovered batteries. [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(12)]
  • Wear personal protective equipment (face shield, safety goggles, neoprene or rubber gloves and apron). [29 CFR 1910.132]
  • Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body must be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use. (Figure 7) [29 CFR 1910.151(c)]
  • Check the electrolyte level before recharging. Record the specific gravity with the hydrometer in the service log. Check the pilot cell.
  • Check the water level. Do not add water prior to recharging. Record in service log.
  • Check the voltage. If the battery has sealed vents, do not recharge with a current greater than 25 amperes.
  • Unplug and turn off the charger before connecting or disconnecting the clamp connections.
  • Attach the positive clamp (+, usually colored red) to the positive terminal first and then the negative clamp (-, usually colored black) to the negative terminal, keeping the proper polarity.
  • Turn off the charger if the battery becomes hot or the electrolyte fluid comes out of the vents. Restart charging at a lower charging rate.
  • Check water level after charging. Add distilled water or de-ionized water if water level is below level indicator. Record in service log.
  • Return battery to forklift with lifting beam and secure in place after charging. [29 CFR 1910.178(g)(4) and (g)(5)]
  • Check the indicator on the hour meter to see that battery is fully charged.