Forklift Safety—Don’t Skip The Pre-Start Inspection!
Operating a forklift is an occupational skill that can be mastered with proper training and experience. However, there’s a lot more to forklift safety than merely driving the vehicle correctly. A preoperative inspection is essential, which is why we’re presenting an overview of the steps taken before the forklift is put into service.
Forklift Operation Inspection
According to OSHA, every forklift should be thoroughly inspected at least once a day before being put into service. If your business uses a forklift at all hours of the day, every forklift should be inspected at every shift change. See OSHA Regulation: 1910.178(q) (7) 
As the driver, it’s your responsibility to do a visible inspection before the forklift is turned on, followed by an operational inspection once the forklift is running. If you find that the vehicle is damaged, needs repair, or is potentially unsafe, the forklift should be taken out of service at that time. A great way to comply is to follow a daily inspection checklist. 
Before starting your vehicle, conduct a pre-start inspection. 
- Check water, oil, and hydraulic fluid levels.
- Look for leaks, cracks or any other visible defect including hydraulic hoses and mast chains.
- Check the condition and pressure of the tires including cuts and gouges.
- Check the load backrest extension.
- Be sure all safety devices are working correctly including the seatbelt.
- Ensure all warning decals and plates are in place and legible.
- The manual for operations should be available in the vehicle.
- Check for grease, debris, or other obstructions in the operator compartment.
Along with these points, there are additional inspections to make depending on the type of forklift you may be operating. Here are a few things to consider listed according to the forklift engine type.
Internal Combustion Forklifts
- engine coolant
- hood latch
- air filter
- belts and hoses
- engine oil
- brake reservoir
- electrolyte levels
- frayed or exposed wires in cables
- battery restraints
- hood latch
- properly mounted tank
- upward pointing pressure relief valve
- hose and connectors
- tank restraint brackets
- tank for dents and cracks
- tank fits within profile of truck
OSHA reports that each year nearly 11% of forklifts will be part of some accident, which will result in about 100,000 injuries and 86 deaths. Proper training is of extreme importance, and vehicle inspection is an integral part of operating a forklift safely. So complete your pre-start checklists to the best of your ability and always report issues and concerns with any of your fleet vehicles to a supervisor immediately.
Workplace safety is a top priority at Action Lift. Our Operator Training Systems can assist your company in complying with OSHA regulations and minimize accidents in the workplace.