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Forklift Inspection Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC]

The safe use of a forklift occurs during the actual operating phase – properly carrying loads, using caution when approaching intersections, maintaining safe speeds and other common sense tactics. Yet some of the most important safety checks happen during inspections before a forklift is used.

Forklift Inspection Checklist -




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There are two types of forklift inspection: a visual check and an operational check. Both should occur prior to operating a forklift.

Visual pre-check:

The first step in a proper forklift inspection involves a cut-no-corners approach to how the forklift appears. If it doesn’t pass the eyeball test, address any issues immediately.

  • Obstructions – ensure floor is clear of debris, overhead impediments are removed and nearby objects are removed from operating area.
  • Mechanical inspection – check the engine oil level, and also look for any cracked or loose hoses.
  • Safety items – early warning systems like the horn, alarms, fire extinguisher and lights should be fully operational.
  • Harnesses – ensure the seatbelt or other restraint mechanisms are intact.

Operational pre-check:

Once the visual pre-check is complete, your forklift should pass the following operational pre-use inspection:

  • Brakes – test the parking brake, regular brakes and other stopping systems.
  • Cargo handling – the forks, lift mechanism, tilt function and related functions should perform error-free
  • Cockpit controls – if any steering or control panel issues are present, do not operate the forklift.
  • Audio check – listen for any unexpected sounds during the operational pre-check. Common systems to listen for include the transmission, leaky hoses (hissing sounds) and other “weird” noises.
  • Lights and alarms – even if your visual pre-check found no problems with lights and alarms, it is recommended to test the same functions during a test drive.

Did You Know?

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)’s recent study, more than 1,000 workers died in forklift-related incidents. Of these fatalities, the most common were:

  • 22%: Forklift Overturns
  • 20%: Workers on foot struck by forklift
  • 9%: Fall from forklift

These causes can be reduced by a proper forklift inspection before use. Key areas to focus on include tires, safety indicators (lights, alarms, etc.) and safety harnesses.



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