How Can a Forklift Operator Protect Their Equipment?

If you're a forklift operator, you're only as good as the forklift you're using. There's a lot you can do to keep your forklift battery working well and to keep the entire machine healthy and functioning smoothly. Perform regular maintenance tasks and make use of all sorts of battery-saving tips to keep your equipment high-functioning so you can keep your on-the-job performance high, too.

Maintenance That a Forklift Operator Should Perform

It takes a certain amount of equipment expertise to be a forklift operator. Expand your expertise in working with forklifts with tips and maintenance tricks that will keep your equipment working well and keep your battery life long.

Always keep the forklift battery clean and dry. Check the battery regularly for signs of corrosion, which will compromise the battery life and possibly affect the forklift's performance. A well-maintained battery will hold a charge longer and require charging much less than one that has been damaged by corrosion, or a battery that's simply grimy and dirty from use. Avoid battery corrosion by washing it thoroughly twice a year. Remember to dry the battery completely before placing it back in the forklift.

A forklift operator should also perform frequent checks on the water level, which you can check through the battery cap opening. The water should rise to about one-half inch below the opening of the battery cap. Keep water handy so this can be topped off as needed. Only add water to the battery after it has completed a charge cycle. This is the perfect time to check the water level since this is the only time you should be adding water. Most of the time, the water will need to be topped off weekly or bi-weekly, depending on how often the forklift is used. You should only use distilled or deionized water to the forklift battery, not plain tap water. A forklift operator always has to be cautious not to over-fill the water in the battery, as this can cause malfunctions.

Don't charge the battery whenever you get the chance. For example, if you're in the habit of charging the battery every time you take a break, stop! Every time the battery is connected to a charger, it uses up a life cycle. The battery will last much longer if the forklift operator charges it only when it has run out of juice completely. In other words, charge the battery only when it actually needs to be charged, not when you have the opportunity to charge it up. When the battery is charging, keep the truck compartment and the battery cover open the entire time.

Check all the vent caps and make sure they're tight and secure on the forklift battery at all times. If anything is loose or misaligned, straighten and tighten it.

By taking good care of your forklift battery, you will show yourself to be a true equipment specialist. That saves the bosses money and that reflects very well on you as a forklift operator.

Other Good Tips a Forklift Operator Should Follow

Forklifts travel at a maximum speed of eight miles per hour, but that doesn't mean a forklift operator should always be going at this pace. In fact, you shouldn't go the maximum speed for an extended amount of time. It should only be used for short bursts of speed because going the max speed for several minutes at a time can put a strain on the machine's engine. It's also not very safe to run a forklift at max speed for several minutes inside a factory or warehouse environment.

All forklifts have a maximum weight that they are able to lift. Do not attempt to lift loads that are heavier than this amount. Doing so can cause damage that requires parts replacement and other repairs. Forklift trucks are built to be a steady, solid vehicle, but all equipment has its limits. A forklift operator has to know those limits and not push the forklift beyond them.

Knowing how to care for a forklift is an essential part of being a forklift operator. Know how to take care of your equipment and your employers will know that you're an expert at what you do.

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