How To Properly Perform a Forklift Pre-Operation Inspection

OSHA requires daily forklift inspections before each operator’s shift. The responsibility for this inspection rests fully on the operator themselves, and they must report anything unusual about the machine to their supervisor after the review. In addition, the same machine must undergo another inspection if it’s used in multiple shifts. So, without further ado, here’s how to properly perform a forklift pre-operation inspection.

Complete a Thorough Walk-Around Inspection

A comprehensive forklift inspection contains two primary components: the walk-around inspection and the seated inspection. The first thing you should look at is the tires. Take a good look and check for any cuts, air pressure irregularities, or anything else that would impede the tire’s performance. Next, look at the forklift’s belts, chains, and hoses for any signs of excessive wear. For your safety, never put a finger inside the mast, but be on the lookout for leaks, cracks, and pinholes. Following this, ensure there are no leaks in hydraulic fluid levels. Check the battery of an electric forklift or the engine of an IC forklift to prevent a surge. The power source of your forklift is critical, so having reliable forklift battery suppliers and engine mechanics is essential. Now it’s time to look at the backrest, overhead guard, forks, and mast for any cracks or dents. Also, ensure your data plate and warning labels are legible so you and your coworkers are knowledgeable of safety procedures.

Go Through a Seated Inspection Following the Walk-Around

The seated inspection is the next step in completing a comprehensive pre-operation assessment of your forklift. After climbing into your forklift, look at the seat belt, ensure it’s secure and robust, and check the gauges, warning lights, and fuel levels. Always be seated when you turn on the forklift and never start the engine while standing outside it. Equipment such as safety lights need to be working correctly, and if they look good, test the operation of the controls. Honk your horn, lift and lower the forks, and tilt the mast to ensure smooth operations of the controls. Next, drive the forklift around to test the steering, brakes, and parking brake so everything is smooth and reliable. When checking the parking brake, keep the controls in neutral, then step out of the vehicle and check for leaks. If there are any, it could be a sign of a hydraulic issue. Leaking fluid is a slipping hazard and must be avoided. Finally, check if any sparks or flames are coming from the exhaust. If the exhaust is making unusual noises, there’s something wrong with it.

Always Prioritize Safety When Completing Inspections

After thorough walk-around and seated inspections, your pre-operation review is complete. Remember to report any dents, cracks, or broken welds on your forklift to your supervisor. An OSHA complaint is the last thing your organization wants. Now that you know how to properly perform a forklift pre-operation inspection, it’s time to start your shift.