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Forklifts are an important part of industries dealing with material handling. To maintain a safe working environment, forklifts are required to be in good working condition. A regular and thorough inspection of the forklift is downright essential. You never know when a breakdown happens or when a slight error such as break failure leads to big accidents, injury, or even death.

Understanding the Importance of Daily Forklift Inspection

OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration require the forklift vehicles to be inspected at least daily, or after the shift. This inspection leads to a safer working environment and prevents costly repairs.

A forklift can risk the lives of workers and people around it if it goes out of control due to worn-out brakes, old seat belts, faulty steering, poor layout of controls, and malfunctioned clutches or mast. That’s why pre-inspections are important to identify such problems to make sure that your forklift is safe to operate.

And there are many benefits of performing a daily pre-inspection check; it can minimize your costs, improve uptime, and enhance battery life. Above all, it is important for safety. If you don’t inspect your forklift daily, your site is more prone to accidents.

Maintaining a forklift

By detecting small issues before they turn into major ones, you save yourself time and money. And performing daily inspections also helps ensure compliance with OSHA. And finally, a daily inspection can help increase productivity by detecting problems before they can halt operations.

What to Keep in Mind While Doing Forklift Inspection

How to get started with your daily forklift pre-inspection? At the starting of a shift, or just before use, you should perform two checks namely visual inspection and operational inspection. No matter how the vehicle is used or how it is performing, the inspection is still required to be performed.

A forklift should be checked daily for performance and safety issues. You as an employer should take a step to make sure that inspections are not skipped and that operators are competent and trained enough to inspect the equipment.

Here are some important considerations for you to check while doing daily forklift inspections.

Don’t make it Complicated:

Check the general working parts of the vehicle for signs of damage and wear.

Check Daily:

If anything breakdowns from the previous day or shift, make sure that all faults have been addressed.

Be Particular:

Create a specific inspection sheet for every type of forklift.


Supervisors must understand pre-use checks themselves to examine whether the right set of procedures is being followed.

Inspections Record:

This will be useful to track any potential issues and ensure that your forklift is always safe to operate.

What Should Your Daily Forklift Inspection Checklist Include?

Make sure to start your daily forklift inspection from the top down, starting with the overhead guard.

Your visual inspection (for the things you can see) for forklift includes:

  1. General condition and cleanliness—there should be no excess oil, grease, or lint.
  2. The floor should be clear of objects causing hindrance or accident.
  3. No obstructions overhead.
  4. Check if the fire extinguisher is present and charged.
  5. Check engine oil level, fuel level, and water level.
  6. Battery should be fully charged with no exposed wires, loose connections, and clogged vent caps.
  7. The bolts, nuts, chains, guards, or hydraulic hose reels should not be damaged missing, or loose.
  8. Check wheels and tires for wear, damage, and air pressure.
  9. Forks should not be bent. The positioning latches should be in good working condition while the teeth shouldn’t be worn, broken, or chipped. No crack should be there.
  10. Chain anchor pins shouldn’t be loose, bent, or worn.
  11. There should be no fluid leaks, damp spots, or drips.
  12. Hoses should be held securely with no wear or tear or rubbing.
  13. Horn should work fine and loud enough to be heard in the working environment.
  14. Seat belt should work properly with no visible wear or damage.

One more thing— you might have different forklift types calling for a unique inspection.

Attentive Female Worker Doing Forklift Inspection

Once you are done with a visual examination, do an operational check to identify the flaws in the function of your forklift.

All you need to drive the forklift around while checking the following things:

  • Hand brake
  • Full range of steering movement
  • Lift control, tilt control, and side shift if fitted
  • Additional devices fitted
  • Horn, flashing lights, headlamps, indicator, reversing lights, and beeper
  • Instruments
  • Transmission for forward and reverse positive movement
  • Brakes and inching pedal

When to Stop Using the Forklift

Make sure to stop operating your forklift and send for a repair instead if you encounter the following problems during inspection:

  • Serious problems that could hinder its safe operation
  • Releasing sparks and flames from the exhaust
  • If a part is getting too hot
  • If the fuel is leaking

Operating forklifts with such issues can be dangerous. Therefore, remove them from service immediately for repair.

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