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What is a Forklift Pre-Operational Safety Inspection?

A Pre-Operational Safety Inspection on a Forklift or any Lift Truck is a Mandatory task that all operators must complete before commencing their shift. This inspection is to ensure that the lift truck which will be operated is in safe condition.  A Pre-Operational Safety Inspection is an important safety measure to prevent accidents.


What does the Pre-Operational Safety Check involve?

The operator must complete a Safety Inspection Form and keep this on file with the company. This form should be dated and signed by the operator and supervisor.


This safety check involves 2 aspects;




Visual – The operator should visually walk around (circle check) and look for any issues with the lift truck.

Operational – The operator should inspect all the operational components to ensure that they are working correctly. For example – lift mechanism.


Visual Check – What am I looking for?

  • General condition and cleanliness

  • Floor – clear of objects that could cause an accident

  • Overhead – no obstructions

  • Nearby objects to avoid as you drive away

  • Fire extinguisher – present and charged

  • Engine oil level, fuel level, radiator water level (LPG, gas and diesel forklifts)

  • Battery – fully charged; no exposed wires; plug connections not loose, worn or dirty; vent caps not clogged; electrolyte levels in cells is adequate; secured in place by hold downs or brackets

  • Bolts, nuts, guards, chains, or hydraulic hose reels not damaged, missing or loose

  • Wheels and tires – check for wear, damage, and air pressure, if pneumatic tires

  • Forks – forks not bent; no cracks present; positioning latches in good working condition; carriage teeth not broken, chipped or worn

  • Chain anchor pins – not worn, loose or bent

  • Fluid leaks – no damp spots or drips

  • Hoses – held securely; not loose, crimped, worn or rubbing

  • Horn – working and loud enough to be heard in working environment; other warning devices operational

  • Seatbelt and/or operator restraint device (if equipped)

  • Overhead guard – no damaged areas


Operational Check – What am I looking for?

  • Foot Brake – pedal holds, unit stops smoothly.

  • Parking Brake – holds against slight acceleration.

  • Deadman Seat Brake – holds when operator rises from seat

  • Clutch and Gearshift – shifts smoothly with no jumping or jerking.

  • Dash Control Panel – all lights and gauges are operational.

  • Steering – moves smoothly

  • Lift Mechanism – operates smoothly (check by raising forks to maximum height then lowering forks completely)

  • Tilt Mechanism – moves smoothly, holds (check by tilting mast all the way forward and backward)

  • Cylinders and Hoses – not leaking after above checks

  • Listen for any unusual sounds or noises

  • Lights – headlights and warning lights are operational


What If I Notice that Something is Wrong With the Forklift?


If you have just completed a Pre-Operational Safety Inspection and notice that something is wrong with you truck whether it be visually or mechanically, the lift truck Should NOT Be Operated until it repaired by a qualified mechanic. Report all issues to your supervisor or manager right away and tag the truck to be out of service until repairs have been made.


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