Depending on the use and application, metal forks can last years, but they don’t last forever. It’s important to know how to inspect your forklift forks and when to replace them.  

Why is it important to inspect your forklift forks daily? Not doing so can lead to snapped forks, dropped loads, and injuries. This can be avoided by daily inspections and proper fork maintenance. As a reminder, OSHA requires daily inspections of all powered industrial trucks, including forks.

How do forks typically get damaged? 

  • Wear from regular use 
  • Improper chain adjustments
  • Minor accidents 
  • Fork use beyond its rated capacity 
  • Driving with forks are touching the floor 
  • Using a lifting chain on one fork to lift heavy objects 
  • Picking up loads too far out on the forks 
  • Attachments that stress the forks 

What should you look for? 

  • Surface cracks. There should be no cracks anywhere on the forks. Check the heel area and welds carefully.  
  • Blade and shank angleCheck the angle between the upper face of the blade and the front face of the shank. If the angle exceeds 93% the forks must be replaced.
  • Straightness. If the forks are bent in excess of 0.5% of the corresponding blade length or shank height, they must be replaced. 
  • Fork tip height. Forklift blades should be the same height. If there is a noticeable difference between the tips, they should be checked. If excessive, the forks should be replaced. 
  • Positioning lock. If the positioning lock or other fork retention device malfunctions, it should be checked carefully before continuing use. These types of pins lock the fork to the carriage to prevent the forks from sliding off. 
  • Fork thickness. Metal on forks wears down over time. A 10% decrease in fork thickness reduces load capacity by 20%. Use forklift calipers to measure the thickness of the fork blade, heel, and hook.  
  • Capacity stampThe capacity stamps should be always visible. 

Forklift forks should be inspected at least once a year by a qualified service technician. Our experienced forklift technicians are available to inspect your forklifts and forks to ensure efficient and safe work conditions. Contact us to set up a service appointment today! 

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