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There are many businesses that use industrial lift trucks that have forklift logs but never use them. There are others that don’t have them at all. Both are taking a huge risk should something go wrong with their forklifts.
Forklift log books are repositories for critical information about each individual vehicle. Federal law requires that forklifts be inspected daily, or after every shift when the vehicles are used around the clock. This requirement can be found in the Powered Industrial Truck standard at 1970.178(q)(7).
Keeping a Record
While OSHA does not require companies to keep a written record of each of these inspections it’s a good idea because it allows companies to prove that they have been adhering to safety standards all along.
This is important, especially if federal safety inspectors swarm into your business in the wake of an accident involving a serious injury or employee death.
Other Uses for Log Books
Forklift log books offer a convenient way to store these mandated safety inspection reports. But they offer other benefits as well.
For example, if you use a forklift powered by propane, gas, or even electricity, operators can record in the log book how frequently they are refueled or recharged. This can help identify waste due to poor vehicle performance or even theft.
Repairs and routine maintenance can also be recorded in the forklift log book. This is helpful when somebody needs to know the vehicle history, such as a mechanic, when the vehicle is being prepared for resale, or when it is being returned at the end of its lease.
English, Spanish, and Other Languages
It’s a good idea to have written instructions included with the forklift log book in both English and Spanish. These tell operators exactly what the management expectations are even if supervisors are not immediately available.
If operators using your business’s forklift speak other languages — such as Polish, Russian, or French — instructions in these languages should be included as well.
Retaining Log Books
In most states, businesses aren’t required to keep records of daily forklift extensions for a specific period of time. They just need to be able to prove that the inspections are being performed on a regular basis.
Exceptions include the state of California, which considers the daily inspection log a record of inspection to identify unsafe conditions. In that state, businesses are required to retain these logs for a period of at least one year.