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Forklifts: Pre-Use Inspections



Every Monday by
Grain Journal
Editor Kendall Trump


Forklift operators are required to inspect their unit prior to placing it in service.

If the workplace has multiple shifts, the lift must be inspected prior to each shift. If the inspection shows any condition that will affect the safety of the vehicle adversely, the truck must not be placed into service.

Any defects or deficiencies should be reported to a supervisor and repaired by an authorized person.

Prior to operating a forklift:

  • Ensure that the controls are operational.
  • Check the tires to ensure that they are not cracked, damaged, have adequate tread, and adequate pressure (pneumatic tires only).
  • Ensure that the horn is working.
  • Engage the brakes to ensure proper operation.
  • Ensure that lights and strobes are working.
  • Verify that the backup alarm is operational.
  • Check fluid levels.
  • Verify that the batteries are not leaking and are adequately charged.
  • Ensure that the overhead guard is in good condition.
  • Inspect and adjust the mirrors.
  • Check to make sure that the seat belt is in operating order.

Your company may require additional inspection items. Always follow your company's inspection requirements. 

If deficiencies are identified during the inspection process, park the unit in a safe place, lower the forks, place the controls in neutral, set the parking brake, remove the key, and place a "Do Not Operate" tag or sign on the unit prior to notifying a supervisor.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple, Inc., Olathe, KS;


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