Forklift Pre-Operational Checklist & Guide


As required by OSHA, every forklift must be inspected before operation. This is not only a good idea to maintain compliance with OSHA, it is a best practice for any forklift fleet. We have found that a robust inspection program, which takes only a few minutes before each shift, will more than pay for itself over time with reduced maintenance costs, accidents and product/facility damage. Apex Material Handling wants to be your partner in forklift safety and productivity.

Powered Industrial Truck Inspection Guide

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A vehicle that is in need of repair, defective or in any way unsafe should be removed from service. The problem should be recorded on a log and reported to a supervisor immediately. This section discusses pre-operation and operational inspections that operators should perform to ensure that forklifts will operate safely. Only operators who have been trained and evaluated in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.178(l) can operate forklifts.

OSHA requires that all forklifts be examined at least daily before being placed in service. Forklifts used on a round-the-clock basis must be examined after each shift. [29 CFR 1910.178(q)(7)]

Pre-Operational Inspection

The operator should conduct a pre-start visual check with the key off and then perform an operational check with the engine running. The forklift should not be placed in service if the examinations show that the vehicle may not be safe to operate.

Remember! A vehicle in need of repair, defective or in any way unsafe, should not be driven and should be taken out of service immediately. Any problems should be recorded on the appropriate documents and reported to a supervisor.

Before starting your vehicle, conduct a pre-operation (or pre-start) inspection that checks a variety of items, including but not limited to:

Safety decals and nameplates. Ensure all warning decals and plates are in place and legible. Check that information on the nameplate matches the model and serial numbers and attachments.

In addition to this general inspection, additional items should be checked depending on the forklift type (electric or internal combustion, including liquid propane). These include but are not limited to:

Electric Forklifts

Note: Always use personal protective equipment such as a face shield, rubber apron, and rubber gloves when checking electrolyte.

Internal Combustion Forklifts

Liquid Propane Forklifts

Note: Always use personal protective equipment such as a face shield, long sleeves, and gauntlet gloves when checking liquid propane tanks and fittings.

Operational Inspection

After completing the pre-operation inspection, operators should conduct an operational inspection with the engine running. This inspection includes:

Requirements and Recommended Practices

The OSHA powered industrial truck standard [29 CFR 1910.178] lists a number of conditions under which a forklift must be removed from service. If the operator notes these conditions while driving, the operator must stop, park the vehicle and get assistance.

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