Get Serious About A Forklift Inspection Test


There is probably no other piece of equipment used on the job site more than a forklift, or other lift apparatus. Ironically, it's because of this frequent level of use that operators often overlook the need for regular forklift inspections. Think about it, we use our automobiles constantly, yet they only require inspections once a year, if at all. Unfortunately, this sames complacency is even more common in regard to forklifts and aerial lifts, but can result in many negative effects, including asset damage, employee discipline, fines, injury, and even death.

OSHA, the Operational Safety and Health Administration, reports that an average of 100 employees are killed each year in forklift accidents, and as many as 95,000 total forklift accidents occur on an annual basis. In many cases, these accidents are avoidable. While Toyota forklifts are carefully manufactured with safety as a top priority, there are still certain safety protocols that must be followed consistently and correctly for operators and pedestrians to be protected. A committed inspection practice, conducted with a forklift inspection checklist for just a few minutes before each shift, will more than pay for itself over time by significantly reducing: down-time, maintenance costs, accidents and product/facility damage.

Two Types of Forklift Inspection Checklists

Though they are usually combined on one handy sheet, there are actually two separate, but equally vital, forklift inspection checklists: pre-operational (engine off) and operational (engine running). These distinctions are clearly stated within the OSHA protocol for forklift safety, along with the fact that all forklifts must be inspected daily, or after each shift in cases where vehicles are in round-the-clock use. If problems are discovered, they must be reported and the forklift must be removed from service immediately.

Creating and adhering to a two-part inspection regimen is not difficult, but it does take continuous corporate support and a high level of operator discipline. What would these forklift inspection checklists include?

Forklift Inspection Checklists

Following are sample inclusions for a pre-operational and operational forklift inspection checklist. Use these as a good starting outline for your own, more relevantly detailed, list.

  • Check fluid levels (oil, water, and hydraulic fluid, for example)
  • Check for leaks, cracks and visible defects everywhere on the forklift
  • Check mast chains visually; avoid the use of hands
  • Test mast chain tension by lifting the load backrest to eye level—the mast chains should be level and any tilting may signify stretching or broken rollers
  • Check tire condition, pressure, and look for any cuts or gouges
  • Determine fork condition, remembering to check the top clip retaining pin and heel
  • Ensure load backrest extension functions properly
  • Check functionality of finger guards
  • Ensure safety decals and nameplates are legible and match the forklift mode
  • Check that the operators' manual and log book are present and legible
  • Ensure the operators' manual compartment is clean of debris
  • Test all functional safety devices, such as seat belts and horns
  • Check the brakes, steering controls and other operational items for proper function
  • Accelerator Linkage
  • Inch control (If Equipped)
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Drive Control: Forward and Reverse
  • Tilt Control: Forward and Back
  • Hoist and Lowering Control
  • Attachment Control
  • Horn
  • Lights
  • Back-up Alarm (If Equipped)
  • Hour Meter

Also, keep in mind that all of your warehouse equipment must be inspected with regularity. One area that is often overlooked until it is too late is the Fire Door areas in a facility. Take a look at this short video on fire door safety and required inspections for this type of equipment.