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Top Reasons to Use a Forklift Caliper

Why Use a Caliper on Your Forklift

If you don’t already know what a forklift caliper is, you’re going to want to hop on this bandwagon. These small tools have such a wide range of utilities, and it’s almost unbelievable that so many essential jobs can be fulfilled using them. At the end of the day, a forklift caliper is essential to maintaining the efficiency and the safety of your forks.


If you still aren’t convinced, here are some of the top reasons to use a forklift caliper:

1. It’s the Best Tool to Keep your Equipment in Compliance

We’re sure you know how difficult it is to make sure that your equipment is in compliance with OSHA and ANSI standards; you have to be hyper-vigilant about any shift in fork angle or blade wear. Though it’s a difficult job, keeping your material handling equipment in compliance with industry standards is a worthwhile job. Non-regulation equipment can be dangerous to your employees, to pedestrians, and to your merchandise. And it’s not just about safety; maintaining your equipment and staying on top of fork deviations is essential to maintaining the overall integrity of your equipment itself, ensuring that you’re able to get the most use out of it over the long term.

No matter how you slice it, a forklift caliper is one of the most helpful tools when it comes to keeping your forks in compliance. Fork maintenance is often overlooked — they’re thought of as indestructible and are often overlooked by operator training manuals, instruction courses, lift truck technicians, fleet maintenance managers, and many others. However, it is very easy for forks to be worn down or even ruined over the course of everyday operations; they do carry larger loads than virtually any lifting device, after all. The forklift caliper, however, is here to ensure that your forks are no longer overlooked; they can perform a number of essential duties to help you to measure fork deviations and ensure that you’re always in compliance with OSHA and ANSI standards.

2. To Check your Fork Angle

Fork angle deviation is no laughing matter. According to ANSI standards, deviation cannot exceed three degrees, so it’s very important to be using your fork caliper to measure this pretty regularly. Forks that are out of compliance can pose significant safety threats and can jeopardize the overall integrity of your equipment. Keeping your fork deviations within the acceptable margins can pay off in the long run — in longevity of equipment use and in safety assurance.

If you’re unsure about how to use a caliper to measure fork angle deviation, here’s a little crash course. According to ANSI standards, the angle between the fork blade and shank needs to stay within the margins of 87 and 93 degrees. Any more deviation is not in compliance with ANSI standards and would jeopardize the safety of your workplace.

  • Open your caliper and place it between the plate and shank, making sure that all protrusions are touching the fork surfaces.
  • Using the markings on the caliper, you can read the fork angle and be sure that it is within the three-degree range.
  • If your fork is not within the degree range, tag it out immediately and make arrangements to replace the forks.
  • If your fork is within the degree range, you are safe to continue using it. However, if it is close to being out of compliance, be sure to check this angle frequently. Luckily, this will be easy now that you know how to use a forklift caliper! 

3. To Check Fork Hook Compliance

The fork hooks are another part of your forks that can easily fall out of compliance without careful monitoring. As with fork angle, maintaining ANSI standards in your fork hooks can minimize safety risks and ensure the longevity of your equipment. Using a caliper to check for hook compliance is simple and has far-reaching benefits. Just follow these easy steps:

  • First, use the numbers on the end of the caliper to find your forklift class.
  • Use the protrusion that fits your forklift class, and place it into the notch of the fork hook.
  • If the hook hits the back of the caliper, it is out of compliance. Be sure to tag it out immediately and replace the appropriate parts.
  • If the hook does not hit the back of the caliper, you are safe to continue using it; however, as we said above, be sure to check this frequently to ensure that you’re aware when it does fall out of compliance.

4. To Check Fork Blades for Wear

You’re probably tired of hearing it by now, but it stands repeating: maintaining ANSI standards in your fork blades is of paramount importance. We may sound repetitive, but you’ll thank us for drilling this into your head when you’re reaping the benefits of safe and long-lasting equipment.

Using a forklift caliper, the job of measuring blade wear becomes an unbelievably easy one.

  • First, set your caliper to fit the thickness of your shank.
  • Place the caliper onto the heel of the fork, as this is the point that typically gets the most wear.
  • If the blade passes the caliper’s inside teeth, it’s not in compliance with ANSI standards. Cease use immediately until you can replace the forks.
  • If the blade does not pass the caliper’s inside teeth, you’re in luck! It’s still safe for use.

It’s important to maintain the integrity of your equipment, and we’re hopeful that, if you aren’t already, this blog has convinced you to start utilizing a forklift caliper. We here at Liftmasters are dedicated to providing you with the best safety information on top of providing the best-quality material handling equipment. For more questions about calipers or about other forklift safety practices, contact us or visit our website.

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