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What To Look For When Buying A Used Forklift

Sarah Kezer

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Sarah Kezer | August 2, 2016 | Comments Off on What To Look For When Buying A Used Forklift

Process Safety Management

As any forklift operator knows, there are certain associated risks that come with the handling of material handling equipment. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 100,000 workers are injured per year due to improper training or carelessness on the job. Because of the technical aspects involved with the operation of a forklift and the proclivity for accidents, OSHA requires that all employers ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation.

But how about ensuring safety before a forklift is even brought into the workplace? Equipment replacement is a normal part of any operation, and there are a lot of options out there when it comes to purchasing. Whether you buy new, used, rent, or lease equipment, there are some precautions to consider when procuring a new machine.

Buying used equipment can provide a huge cost-savings for businesses. Especially if you use a marketplace to receive multiple quotes from forklift dealers to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Whenever buying a previously owned piece of equipment however, there are some extra inspection steps that should be taken to make sure that the machine is as safe as possible for operation before purchasing it. An improperly functioning machine can put you and your workers at even great risk. Below are some tips to consider during the purchasing process.

Ask for maintenance reports. Your dealer should be able to provide detailed maintenance reports, which will help you determine the true condition of the forklift and spot any possible problems. These will show you how often the forklift was being inspected and if it was maintained correctly. If routine maintenance wasn’t performed on the machine, there may be some difficulties with correct functioning in the future.

Conduct your own on-site inspection. Before purchasing any type of forklift, especially if it’s used, you should be able to conduct your own personal inspection of the equipment. The major areas to look out for include:

  • The fork and mast. Look for any cracks, bends, or sign of overloading. Check for any signs of deep cracks, which can make the truck unsafe for heavy loads.
  • Mast rails, lift chains, and cylinders. Look for signs of excessive wear or evidence of leaking fluids. Check the mast rails for any welds or cracks that may affect the structure and that the chains are in good working condition.
  • Frame and canopy. Walk around the entire forklift and check for any signs of damage to the body or canopy. Look for any bends in the canopy and check the reliability of side screen. Check the cab for any sings of repairs or damage to the windows.
  • Evaluate the seat’s position and that the seatbelt functions properly. It’s important to turn on the engine and listen for any unusual noises. If you can, bring one of you forklift technicians with you throughout this inspection for an additional set of eyes. Ensure that all operations function smoothly including the brakes, steering, and all driving controls.
  • Engine compartment. Check the engine for leaks, dirt buildup, and cracks after your test drive. Other aspects to check in the engine include the air filter, belts, oil, and battery connections.

Used forklifts can serve as a very cost-effective and efficient part of your equipment fleet as long as you conduct some due diligence beforehand. In conjunction with proper inspection and training from, your operators can get to work and perform their job safely and efficiently.




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