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Alert: Clark Model ECS and GCS Forklift Trucks

Hazard Summary:

A recent incident at an automobile assembly plant revealed an area in the mast assemblies of Clark Model ECS and GCS Series Forklift trucks where cracking and failure may occur. The web of the channel in one or both masts was found to be cracking near the rear corner where the lower rail is welded to the mast channel. It is likely that the cracking occurs when the manufacturer's preventive maintenance requirements have not been strictly adhered to.

Locations and Sectors:

Manufacturing; warehouses


It is extremely important with all models of forklift trucks that the manufacturer's maintenance and inspection procedures be rigorously followed.

Clark Model ECS and GCS Series Forklift Trucks should be examined for cracks, as follows:

  1. Elevate the forks to about 12 feet.
  2. Clean residual grease from the area of the mast channel where the lower rail is welded to it to about eight inches above the rail.
  3. With a flashlight, examine the area closely for cracking or any other sign of stress.

Any forklift that has cracks in this area should be taken out of service immediately. Complete failure in this section of the mast assembly can result in catastrophic loss of load.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (s. 25(1)(b)) requires an employer to ensure that equipment is maintained in good condition. The Regulations for Industrial Establishments (R.R.O.1990, Reg. 851, s. 51(1)(b)) state that a lifting device shall

"be thoroughly examined by a competent person to determine its capability of handling the maximum load as rated,
  1. prior to being used the first time, and
  2. thereafter as often as necessary but not less frequently than recommended by the manufacturer and in any case, at least once a year and a permanent record shall be kept, signed by the competent person doing the examination."


Mast/mast channels:
On a forklift truck, the forklift moves up and down inside the channels of the two masts, which are the vertical components that hold the forklift and its load above the rest of truck. The web (in this case) is the area of steel at the back of the channel.
Rails or crossties:
These extend from the main body of the truck to the two front wheel assemblies. They are essential for stability, especially when the forklift is carrying a load. In these models, there are two on each side, upper and lower.

This Ministry of Labour Alert has no legal effect and does not constitute and is not a substitute for legal advice. If you require specific assistance with respect to the interpretation of a legislative provision and its potential application to you please contact your legal counsel.

Remember that while complying with occupational health and safety laws, you are also required to comply with applicable environmental laws.

Please photocopy Ministry of Labour Alerts, distribute them widely and post them where people will see them.