Most warehouses and manufacturing facilities use forklifts to complete critical daily operations but are also a common safety hazard. Forklift accidents can stem from a variety of problems, one of them being detectable equipment failure. Lowering common risk factors is the most important aspect of keeping forklifts safe for all the people involved in their operations and this can be done with pre-inspections of the vehicle.
OSHA does require all forklifts to be examined on a daily basis before they are placed on the floor in service. If the forklift is used round-the-clock, it should be inspected after each shift. By having the operator examine the important components of the forklift before operating, you will avoid having any defective or unsafe forklifts traveling around the facility. Companies need to emphasize the importance of these inspections as they are often overlooked or eventually fall to the wayside.
One of the ways you ensure inspections are being carried out thoroughly is by providing a daily checklist for operators. You can create your own checklist, use an existing checklist, or customize one to fit the needs of your facility.
As an example, the following sample checklist will help you make sure your forklift will operate safely.
- Check to be sure the horn is working properly.
- Check for leaks of hydraulic liquid. Leaks can cause slipping accidents or point to potential failure of the hydraulic system.
- Check that there are no sparks or flames coming from the exhaust.
- Be sure the vehicle is free of lint, oil, grease, and any other flammable materials.
- Look to see that all fuel connections are tight.
- Check the battery terminals to make sure they are covered.
- Make sure the pressure in all tires is correct.
- Test all controls to make sure they are functioning properly and labeled correctly.
- Make sure there are no cracks or other deformities on the mast, overhead guard, backrest, or forks.
- Check the brakes and all lights.
- Check the steering.
- Test all restraints to make sure they are working properly.
- Clean off the load capacity plate so that all numbers are readable. Test backup alarm to make sure it is working properly.
This is just a sample list for an average forklift, but you may need to make changes or develop additional lists for reach trucks, order pickers, internal combustion pneumatic forklifts, or electric forklifts.