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Proper Fork Inspection, Care and Usage

By: Eastern Lift Truck Co., Inc. May 09, 2018

Load forks are a critical component of any forklift. Used properly, they may last a reasonably long time. However, without regular and proper inspection, misused, worn and damaged forks may not be noticed in time to prevent an accident. Here are some suggestions to help minimize fork related issues.


  • Examine for wear, damage or other defects at least daily or after each shift for a round-the-clock operation.
  • Learn how to use a fork caliper (wear guide) – see Figure 1 below.
  • Ensure the positioning locks are in place at all times with the forks properly seated on the carriage.
  • Secure loads against the rear fork shank and load backrest.
  • Forks should always be at least 2/3 of the length of the load.
  • Make sure the fork capacity meets or exceeds lift truck capacity.
  • Understand how to check for fork wear and establish a fork replacement schedule for your operation.
  • Contact fork manufacturer for written approval prior to making any for modifications or attempting repairs.
  • Destroy all warn or damaged forks so they are not mistakenly re-used.


  • Don’t drive with forks on the ground or any higher than 6 to 8 inches off the floor.
  • Do not pick up off-balanced loads from the side of the lift truck.
  • Don’t lift loads heavier than the combined fork capacity
  • Do not lift heavy loads by just the tips of the forks.
  • Don’t change forks from one lift truck to another without knowing the capacities of each truck and fork.
  • Do not apply heat to any part of fork for any reason.
  • Don’t use fork extensions any longer than 1.5 times the length of the supporting forks’ length
Eastern Lift Truck Co.’s Customer Service Representatives and Technicians are educated on proper fork maintenance and care and are happy to assist you with the inspection and assessment of your forks.