Tips on Forklift Inspection

Worker in protective uniform in front of forkliftEmployees who work in a warehouse setting are accustomed to using equipment like forklifts day in and day out — but that doesn’t mean the machinery can be treated like any other workplace tool. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which enforces laws regarding workplace safety, has a number of guidelines regarding forklift inspection, with specific rules for when, how and how often employers should inspect their equipment.


Why is a Forklift Inspection Needed?

Reading the fine print of OSHA’s safety guidelines can be a challenge, but its goals for mandating forklift inspections is straightforward: to protect workers, the employer and members of the public. As anyone who operates a forklift knows, it takes skill, precision and focus to effectively use the equipment — and the machinery itself needs to be fully functional. If either the driver or the forklift itself isn’t operating exactly as it should, there could be an increased threat of a malfunction or accident, putting both lives and the company at risk. Continuing forklift education and staying on top of new guidelines can ensure a safe work place.


How Should an Employer Conduct a Forklift Inspection?

According to OSHA, employers should conduct a forklift inspection at least once every day, or at the end of a shift if the equipment is being used around the clock. The inspection must be conducted by a certified forklift operator or manager, who should be on the lookout for anything that could signify the equipment is defective or in need of a repair.

The inspection should begin with a visual check with the equipment turned off, measuring fluid levels and tire pressure, looking for any leaks or cracks, and ensuring the equipment has all of the proper safety equipment and signage. Then, the operator should turn the forklift on and check that everything from the brakes to the horn to the steering wheel are working properly. If the forklift has a fire extinguisher attached, it should be visually inspected every month, with a maintenance check conducted annually. If the operator spots anything that suggests the equipment isn’t operating as it should, the forklift should immediately be taken out of service.

Although OSHA doesn’t require it, the agency provides a sample daily checklist for operators to fill out to help guide their forklift inspection and make sure they don’t miss anything. Keeping copies of the completed inspection sheets on hand for a certain amount of time can help employers to document their safety standards in the case of any accidents or incidents.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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