At the beginning of a shift, or just prior to use, forklift operators should take a few minutes to carefully inspect the lift truck they’re about to control. These inspections should happen every single day, regardless of how often the lifting equipment is used of the results of previous inspections. Careful inspection saves lives, prevents injury, and protects equipment and inventory from expensive damage.
As these checks are conducted, users and operators should hold an actual physical list of each inspection item, and should check each item off as they move down the list from top to bottom. Relying on mental lists and checks won’t be enough, no matter experienced operators may be or how familiar they are with their equipment. Every pre-flight check should involve two distinct elements: a visual pre-check and an operational pre-check.
Here are some of the items that should be included in the visual examination of lifting equipment prior to use:
- Is the lift truck clean and in generally good condition?
- Are floor and overhead areas free and clear of obstructions and conditions that could cause an accident?
- Is there an accessible fire extinguisher in the lift truck that’s charged and functional?
For LPG, gas, and diesel forklifts: Check engine oil levels, check radiator fluid levels, and check fuel levels.
For battery powered forklifts: Check battery for full charge, check plug connections for tightness, wear, and dirt, check for exposed wires, make sure vent caps are unclogged, brackets are secure, and electrolyte levels are adequate.
Make sure all guards, chains, and hydraulic hose reels are tight, secure, present and in good repair.
Check wheels and tires for damage, wear, and proper air pressure.
Make sure forks and anchor pins are straight, unbent and unworn, not cracked and not chipped.
Check hoses to make sure they’re securely fastened, unbent and unworn.
Check seatbelts and overhead guard for damage and flaws.
Test horn for functional and volume.
These items should be tested and checked before an operator takes control of a lift truck.
- Test all brakes, including the foot brake, the parking brake, and the deadman seat brake that stops the vehicle when the operator stands up.
- Check the clutch and gearshift for smooth transitions.
- Check lift and tilt mechanisms for smooth operation.
- Check all lights including headlights and traffic signals.
- Listen for unusual sounds and check for fluid leaks.
For more on how to properly inspect and maintain lift truck fleets and other lifting equipment, reach out to the materials handling experts at Lift Temp.