Checking A Forklift

Although a warehouse company probably has a forklift fleet manager on the staff, the process of making sure that a forklift is in good condition for use is the ultimate responsibility of the person who operates it. As they already know, there are many types of forklifts being used today. One size does not fit all. however, checking a forklift follows the same procedure regardless of the type. So when inspecting a forklift for safe use consider these points.

The forklift operator should inspect several elements of the lift to ensure safe use.
(Photo courtesy of Bahrns ToyotaLift – Serving Central and Southern Illinois)

Look At The Safety Equipment

Regardless the type of lift, it is probably equipped with all of these safety items that should be inspected regularly.

· Seat belts or operator restraints
· Skid steer lifts
· Backup alarm or bell.
· Fire extinguisher.
· Mirrors
· Load lift and angle
· Rate stamp on each fork
· Parking brake
· Highway warning flashers and signs
· Boom angle indicator
· Level tilt indicator

Coolant, Engine Oil, and Transmission Fluid

In order to check these items on a forklift the operator is required to lift the engine cover and move the steering wheel forward. Inspect the coolant, engine oil and transmission fluid and if the proper amounts of fluids are not present than add them to the lift.

Oil Leaks

The forklift operator must take care to check for oil leaks locating round the lift. Items to be checked for leaks include the lift cylinders, wheel hubs, hydraulic fittings and valve spools.

Hydraulic Lines

It is imperative that the forklift operator inspects the hydraulic lines for wear and tear. If one finds exposed reinforcing wire or crushed steel fittings, replace them to avoid a possible catastrophic failure of the lift’s hydraulic system.

Lift Chains And Rollers

Check for damaged links in the lift chains and replace if you discover them. A damaged lift chain can break resulting in load failure or binded worn or out-of-round rollers.


Check tires for wear and make sure they are properly inflated and are not damaged along the sidewalls or in the treads. Undetected damage to the tire can lead to a forklift overturn and/or injury or even death of the forklift operator and/or by standers.


Inspect the brakes to make certain they are working properly.

Forklift Operators’ Area

Make certain that the forklift’s operator’s area is clean. Debris laying on the floor can get into the controls of the forklift causing a jam or blocking access to important parts of the forklift.

Questions To Ask To Assure Safe Operation Of The Forklift

Before operating a forklift outdoors, check the environment around the lift and answer these questions:

· Will the ground support the forklift?
· Is the ground level enough for safe travel?
· Are there obstructions that can cause tire damage?
· Is there a proper amount of clearance from overhead power lines?




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