Forklift Inspections & Pre-Operation Checklist

Does your business perform material handling tasks? Whether you’re in the logistics, construction, or warehousing industry, forklift safety is the key to smooth operations and your team’s safety. Review the importance of thorough inspections and what a pre-operation checklist should include.


Why Prioritize Forklift Inspections?


It might seem like a hassle, but this daily routine is crucial. First, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates forklift inspections before each shift. Second, regular inspections can catch mechanical issues early, reducing the risk of on-the-job incidents and costly downtime for forklift repairs.


Another way to promote safety and minimize unexpected breakdowns is to prioritize preventative forklift maintenance. Stick to an efficient maintenance routine that includes regular service checks, oil changes, and replacement of worn-out parts.


Pre-Operation Forklift Inspection Checklist


If you manage a crew of forklift operators, go down this forklift inspection checklist with them to start every day on the right foot:


Exterior Check


This involves examining the overall physical condition of the forklift. Key elements to check include:

  • Tires: Look for cuts, gouges, or significant wear. Ensure they are inflated to the appropriate pressure and no debris is lodged in them.
  • Forks and mast: Inspect for visible cracks, bends, or distortions. Check the positioning latches, and ensure the forks are properly spaced and aligned.
  • Chain anchorage and overhead guard: The lift chains should be well-oiled and free from kinks or twists. Check the guard for any damage or modifications.
  • Hydraulic hoses, mast chains, cylinders, and fluids: Look for leaks or low fluid levels and ensure the hoses and chains are intact.


Operational Check


This involves assessing the operability of key forklift components:

  • Engine oil, fuel, and radiator fluid: Confirm that these are at appropriate levels.
  • Batteries: These should be firmly secured with no visible leaks, corrosions, or exposed wires.
  • Seats, seatbelts, and mirrors: Check the cab’s condition, ensuring that all components are intact and functional.
  • Warning devices: These include horns, flashing lights, and backup alarms, which should all be operational.


Control Panel Check


Ensure all control functions are working optimally:

  • Brakes: The parking and foot brakes should work smoothly.
  • Steering: The steering should respond effectively without any lag or excessive slack.
  • Accelerator and drive control: These should respond immediately to the operator’s input.
  • Tilt control, lift control, and attachment control: These should function smoothly with no drifting.


Additional Checks


These may include:

  • Fire extinguisher: This should be in its designated place, fully charged, and operational.
  • Propane tank (if applicable): Check for any damage, rust, or leaks.


Safety always comes first, so immediately report any concerns identified during a forklift inspection. Then, remove the faulty forklift from service until repaired.


Partner with Ring Power Lift Trucks


With 11 locations throughout Florida and over 60 years of experience, Ring Power Lift Trucks has become a trusted forklift partner in the Sunshine State. We understand the importance of quality education, so we offer operator training and certification that aligns with OSHA standards. This enables your team to handle forklift operations with confidence and proficiency. To schedule training for your workforce, please call us at 877-544-5438 and book a class in your area today.


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