Forklift safety is an important part of overall warehouse and site safety. To ensure a safe working environment, the importance of regular lift truck audits cannot be reiterated enough.
Forklifts have changed dramatically over the years, but the basics of good equipment management haven’t changed nearly as much as the lift trucks themselves. The precepts remain centred on operational and maintenance practices that can help save owners from safety hassles, downtime and burgeoning repair costs. To achieve this, it is crucial to make sure that lift trucks are always in optimum working order, both from a performance and safety point of view, thus regular equipment audits are non-negotiable.
According to Mike Keats, Director at Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC), equipment audits are particularly significant when it comes to health and safety. He reiterates that warehouses and other forklift environments should be places where operators, pedestrians and managers feel safe and secure as they seek to accomplish important tasks.
“Regular lift truck audits are imperative, firstly from a health and safety perspective, and secondly, from a performance standpoint. Remember lift trucks engage in rigorous activities daily and it is vital to ensure that operators and pedestrians are kept safe at all times,” says Keats. “National and global standards have to be met and aligned with at all times. Therefore, end users should audit their MHE suppliers to ensure that the equipment is in a safe working order and free of defects.”
Keats adds that audits should address several safety aspects on all working parts, specifically lifting mechanisms, as well as all other equipment componentry such as brakes and engines, among others. “Equipment audits ensure a safe working environment, more productive equipment and operators, as well as product longevity. A well maintained machine will last far longer than the one not maintained properly,” says Keats, adding that maintenance contracts are encouraged so that the supplier will take the lead in an effective maintenance regime.
Several parties are involved in equipment audits. “Customers, load test companies, ISO and OHSA auditing firms can all be involved in the audits. Operators should audit MHE daily and specialists from the lift truck companies should also do so on a regular basis. Technicians also get to audit and check the equipment at service intervals,” he says. Adding to this, the Fleet Management Systems with interactive display ensures that Operators cannot start their equipment without completing a full maintenance checklist. The Fleet Management Systems also provide real time feedback and control on various equipment components, including engines, tyres and load.
GLTC plays an active role in its customers’ equipment audits. “We regularly audit all equipment on all sites, through our technicians during service intervals, which are typically done at regular intervals. We also do audits via our product support and technical teams which conduct regular site visits to all major clients,” says Keats.
In conclusion, Keats says audits should be seen as partnerships between the customer and the MHE provider. “At Goscor we want to ensure that our customers are in the best hands that the industry has to offer. We believe that meeting the highest standards is not a compromise, it’s a norm, from which we won’t deviate. We care about our customers, our brand and our people, and we know that we must invest strongly in this area in order to retain powerful partnerships in the long term,” concludes Keats.