Although most lift truck-related accidents are generally the result of driver error, forklift maintenance has an important role to play in creating a safe working environment.
Forklift components — such as the mast, forks, tilt mechanism, seat mountings and, of course, brakes — should all be routinely checked to ensure that the truck is it to perform its daily routine without putting staff at risk.
A truck's chain - which controls mast lowering and lifting functions - should also be assessed on a regular basis for signs of wear and, if a chain is shown to have worn significantly, it must be replaced straight away.
UK-based FB Chain Ltd offers an easy to use tool that allows service technicians or anyone charged with on-site vehicle maintenance, to quickly and easily assess if a lift truck chain is reaching the point where it might become hazardous.
Importantly, unlike other "Go or No-Go" chain gauges on the market which only indicate if a chain is either worn or not worn, FB's chain wear gauge enables chain elongation — the most common cause of chain failure — to be measured to within one quarter of one per cent.
This level of accuracy enables the service technicians to decide if a chain could become dangerously worn out before the next service.
Simple to operate and with no electronic parts that can malfunction, the FB Chain wear gauge's patented design features an easily read scale. The service technicians simply hold the tool against the chain to take an accurate reading.
The most popular type of chain wear gauge in the UK, FB Chain Wear Gauges have been sold in over 40 countries throughout the world since they were first launched.
In the United States for example, Carolina Handling — part of the Raymond Truck Sales and Servicing Network — has recently equipped each of its 200 mobile forklift field-service technicians with an FB chain wear gauge.
Richard Ellsworth, Carolina Handling's quality assurance representative, came across the simple-to-use FB chain wear gauges during an internet search; he found FB Chain's new website — www.chainweargauge.com.
"Our field service technicians had always used a gauge supplied by another chain manufacturer but we were not entirely happy with it," he said.
"It was not particularly accurate and our field service technicians did not find it an easy device to use."
"The provision of the highest levels of customer service is fundamental to our business and issuing the FB chain wear gauge to all our field service technicians enables us to ensure a level of consistency across the whole service team."
And throughout Europe too, the chain wear gauges are equally popular.
In Italy, for example, Jungheinrich's, a leading materials-handling-equipment specialists' Italian division Jungheinrich Italiana Srl has recently taken delivery of over 400 chain wear gauges.
Jungheinrich Italiana Srl will equip each of its service technicians with the FB chain wear gauge.
"We place a great deal of importance on safety and the chain wear gauges will help our field-based service technicians ensure that our clients' trucks are in perfect operating condition," Jungheinrich Italiana's Marco Venerdi said.
"Checking a lift truck's chain for wear is essential because excessively worn chains can be lethal," Peter Church, managing director of FB Chain Ltd, said.
"There is no better precision tool on the market for monitoring chain wear than our gauge."