pre-operational checks on forkliftsAny forklift that needed repair or maintenance service or observed to be unsafe to operate has to be taken out until such repair or maintenance has been done.

How can you then tell if the forklift has to go to maintenance? The forklift operator has to do pre-operational check on it. Its operator has to perform a pre-operation visual inspection with its engine off and has to do an operational inspection with its engine running. Doing so, the operator can determine any issues with the truck and report it to the supervisor. Any problem found must be logged in the truck’s maintenance record.

OSHA Requires That Forklift Be Inspected At Least Daily Before Use

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178(q)(7) states that the industrial trucks such as forklifts must be checked before putting into service and should not be used if the inspection shows any condition that affects the safety of the forklift. Such inspection has to be done at least daily.

If the forklift is being operated in multiple shifts, the truck must be checked before starting each shift. Any issue and problem discovered during the inspection has to be reported to the supervisor and corrected accordingly.

During the Pre-Operational Inspections

Well, as already mentioned above, the pre-operation inspection needs to be performed to identify any damage to the forklift suffered from its previous use to ensure that it is safe to operate to avert an accident.

Pre-operational check on the forklift should be carried out by visual and physical check.

Go around the forklift and perform a visual inspection. The things to look for are oil leaks underneath, condition of the tires if they are already worn out and if they have the correct pressure, damage to the forklift’s mast and lifting assembly, damage to the body and overhead guard, crack and dent on the load backrest, condition of the lights and gauges, and other parts that may be damaged during the previous shift. Checking of the fluid levels such as the coolant, fuel, brake and hydraulic fluid is being conducted during the physical check.

Any problem or issue that may be discovered during the pre-inspection must be kept in the record on the daily inspection checklist.

During the Operational Check

After performing the pre-operation inspection, the operational check should be done before putting the forklift to use.

  • Check for the faulty handbrake to prevent runaway.

  • Check the transmission condition if the forklift has forward and reverse control.

  • Inspect the inching control, if the truck is fitted with such device.

  • Inspect if the forklift the hoisting and lowering control and tilt control function properly.

  • The sounding mechanism such as the horn and back-up alarm should be working properly and emits an audible noise.

  • Check the flashing lights and headlamps if they emit enough brightness.

  • Check the truck’s instruments and other gauges if they are working correctly.

Forklift Need of Repair Should Be Removed from Service

There are circumstances under which the forklift must be removed from service for repair and maintenance.

These circumstances are:

  • During the pre-operation check on the forklift and you detect a serious problem that could hamper its safe operation, report it immediately to the supervisor or to maintenance personnel.

  • If the forklift releases sparks or flames from the exhaust, the truck should be removed and repair should be done immediately. Do not return the defective forklift until the cause of the problem has been eliminated.

  • When any part of the forklift is getting too hot or if the temperature is in excess of its normal operating level, the truck should be removed for necessary repair. Overheating creates a hazardous condition where it could cause a fire.

  • The forklift should be taken out for service if the fuel is leaking. Repair should be done right away

Any repair has to be recorded in the maintenance record to track its service history for future use.

Forklift Maintenance Best Practices

Caring for the forklift is one of the ways you can do for your company’s asset.

Here are some of the best practices you can do to keep the forklifts in excellent working condition.

  • Monitoring of the forklift’s condition and performing the scheduled maintenance is very important to keep it in its optimum working condition.

  • Temporarily take out from the fleet any forklift that is considered unsafe to use until such maintenance has been carried out or until such repair has been completed.

  • Repair has to be performed by an authorized personnel only. Never try to repair the forklift unless of course if you are trained personnel.

  • Never use any forklift in need of maintenance. Doing so may cause more damage to the truck itself and could pose risk to the operator and to the other people around.

  • Always follow the company’s maintenance procedure and the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

  • Keep the forklift clean, free of excess oil and grease smudges.

Maintenance is one of the things that is overlooked and not given priority. This simple mistake results in more money for the company and causes hazardous environment. Many industrial accidents that had happened are caused by poor maintenance because the equipment is not working up to the standard.

To Conclude This

When you put the forklift into service, the potential of an accident that could cause serious injury will always be there. To mitigate such risk, the forklift should be properly maintained and kept in excellent condition.

The pre-operation checks on forklifts have to be conducted to determine its condition. It will only take few minutes to do this.

The pre-operation check if done regularly could lessen the maintenance cost and increase the productivity.

Safety must be the top priority at all times in the workplace.


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