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Forklifts need to be inspected at the beginning of every shift before the operator boards the vehicle. If the vehicle is used multiple shifts per day, then it should be inspected multiple times.
Docks, warehouses, and other workplaces can be dangerous places. Forklifts often work in rugged conditions, indoors and out. So making sure the lift truck is safe before climbing on board is essential for every forklift driver.
Mandatory Pre-Shift Forklift Inspections
Before any operator begins his or her shift, a thorough inspection needs to be conducted. But what sorts of things should the driver be looking for?
Here are the 10 most important things to watch for when conducting pre-shift forklift safety inspections.
Do the forklift’s steering tires move properly when the steering wheel is turned? Some forklifts’ front wheels control directional steering while others use the back wheel or wheels. It’s a good idea to check all of them.
Pump the Brakes
Brakes are one of the most important parts on any forklift. If they aren’t working properly, the vehicle may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision with property or people.
Take a look at the operating pedals. Are there any obstructions that prevent them from being easily depressed? Do they return to their original position when released?
Seat Belt Safety
The seat belt is what keeps the operator in the driver’s seat in the event of a collision or quick braking. Fasten the seat belt and give it a good, firm tug to make sure it’s working properly.
Walk around the vehicle and inspect all the visible parts, starting with the forks. If they are damaged, cracked, or missing securing pins the vehicle is unsafe to use.
Take a good look at the forklift’s mast. Are there any obstructions? Does the chain look like it’s lubricated properly?
Kick the Tires
Inspect all of the forklift’s tires. If any are worn, deflated, or have other signs of damage, you may want to sideline the vehicle until repairs can be made.
Bumps and Bruises
Does the body of the forklift have any new bumps, dents, or scrapes? Minor surface damage can often indicate more serious interior problems.
Get down on your hands and knees and look under the vehicle. Are there any pooling liquids? This could indicate an oil leak, a cracked engine block, brake line problems, or other serious issues that could take the forklift out of commission.
Review the Previous Shift’s Inspection Report
Finally, before giving the forklift the go-ahead, it’s a good idea to look at the vehicle inspection report filled out by the previous shift’s operator. It could include problems you missed.