Forklifts are common in many industries. They are often used in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, retail stores, etc. Many people are injured by them every day.

OSHA says that about 100 workers are killed every year in forklift accidents. And there are about 95,000 accidents per year. These accidents are mostly preventable.

Safety regulations require that forklifts be checked daily before operation. Companies that make forklifts need to ensure that workers follow proper forklift safety procedures.

Pre-operation forklift inspections must be carried out according to a comprehensive list of items.

These include checking the brakes, steering, suspension, lights, horn, engine, fuel system, electrical system, lubrication system, tires, doors, and other systems.

This ensures that the equipment is safe before any work begins, after all forklifts are very expensive pieces of machinery.

A forklift inspection checklist should cover every aspect of a vehicle including the driver, passenger, cargo, and controls. What’s the protocol?

Inspections should be done by an experienced inspector who knows what he/she is doing, after all, a forklift operator makes good money to be a professional.

Forklifts should also be inspected while they are in use to ensure they stay properly in order.

A written report should be made of any defects found during the daily inspection and these reports should be kept and filed away for future reference.

Visual And Physical Checks

Pre-operational checks should include checking the vehicle before starting the job. Inspectors should visually inspect the vehicle for any defects.

The fluid levels should be checked to make sure they are within the right limits. Any damage found during the physical inspections must be recorded on the daily inspection list.

Operational Checks

After going through the pre-operative check, the actual operative check should be performed before operating the forklift.

Inspectors will check the hand brake, transmission, inching control, hoist/lowering control, tilt control, horn and backup alarm.

Headlamps should be bright enough to see when driving at night. Flashers should be strong enough to light up the road ahead.

Gauges and instruments should work properly because they will also alert drivers about problems with the vehicle.

Other Checks

A pre-shift inspection of your forklift is called a “Walk Around” Inspection. You should inspect key parts of your forklift before you start working.

Inspect forks for damage, chains for proper tension, carriage and load backrest for damage, tires for chunking, tearing or damage, and engine and hydraulic systems for leaks or drips.

Seatbelts should be checked for proper tension and performance, but many other parts of the vehicle should be inspected too.

Talk with your supervisor to see what specific items need to be checked before every shift.

Forklift Use

Forklift Pre Operation Inspection Checklist

Forklifts are used to lift heavy loads and as we’ve mentioned they are dangerous if they malfunction or break down.

When a forklift is being repaired or replaced, you need to report any problems to the supervisor and maintenance manager right away.

If there are sparks or flames coming out from the engine, the machine should be taken off the job site until repairs are made. This may be an overheating issue and is a hazardous situation.

A simple fuel leak could cause a fire or explosion. A damaged forklift can cause serious damage to people or property so when a fuel leak occurs, the forklift should not be used until repairs are made.

Ongoing Maintenance

Consistent maintenance will help reduce the need for repairs. Keep the forklift clean and free of oil.

Follow the company’s schedule for maintenance and monitor the truck’s conditions and go through the maintenance procedures that should be provided to you when you started the job role or purchased the forklift.

A pre-operation check done by the company every day could increase productivity and lessen downtime. Safety should always come before anything else.

Digital c+Checklists

The world of modern technology has provided the basis to make many jobs easier and it’s no different in the building industry.

Forklift apps allow forklift drivers to perform inspections faster. They also allow you to automate paperless processes.

To use this modern feature all forklift drivers need during inspections is a smartphone. This eliminates paperwork and saves time.

Your forklift drivers can take pictures, annotate them, generate reports, and generate instant reports. Forklift apps enable users to easily schedule and assign tasks to operators within the app’s dashboard.

Operators can also communicate with customers and other employees about issues and problems. This allows users to quickly respond to customer complaints and requests.

iAuditor is an app that streamlines factory inspections. It helps companies make sure that workers are following safety procedures.

Extra Precautions

Although not a legal requirement portable fire extinguishers should be equipped on all forklifts operating in areas where there are potential hazards.

The employer must maintain the extinguisher according to the requirements of 1910-157. The employer cannot remove or modify the extinguisher without written permission from the forklift manufacturer.

The NFPA standard for type designations, areas of use, maintenance and operations of powered industrial trucks, includes requirements for fire extinguishers.

The NFPA standard for fire extinguishers specifies that portable fire extinguishers shall be located as recommended by the manufacturer.

Operators must receive training regarding the proper use of fire extinguishers.

OSHA requires forklifts to have horns. Horns are required by law, but you should check if your forklift has them before using them.

You could also make sure there aren’t any obstacles blocking your view when driving.


As we’ve discovered A forklift can cause serious damage if it isn’t in working order. Operators must remove vehicles that are unsafe or in need of repairs before operation.

Operators should record the problems on a log and report them to supervisors. Only qualified operators can operate forklifts, and they must follow safety regulations.

Wheel Clock Requirements

Commercial motor vehicles are no longer required to use wheel chocks when parking at loading docks because of an agreement between the FMCSA and OSHA.

Therefore, OSHA’s wheel-chocking rules do not apply to these vehicles, however, commercial vehicles must be equipped with a parking brake system.

A parking brake system must be installed in every commercial vehicle made after 1990. Vehicles without this safety feature should be pulled off the road.

Trucks are required to use chocking blocks to protect people who might get caught under them if they move while stopped.

Chocking blocks are used to stop the truck’s wheels and prevent it from moving when it is parked.


Operating a large mechanical machine certainly does bring with it many risks but with regular checks and appropriate maintenance, risks can be reduced.