A forklift should be checked by a qualified maintenance person for defects the first time it is placed into service and every day that the forklift is used. If the forklift is used continuously, then a maintenance inspection should be checked at the end of each shift.
The maintenance department should conduct inspections of all forklifts at regular intervals. We have included samples of an operator’s “Daily Forklift Safety Checklist” at the end of this module that can be adapted and attached to the forklift as a reminder to the operator to do this check. Some employers keep records of these daily checks.
Corrective maintenance is a reactive measure conducted only after defects are discovered. It should be the duty of every operator to promptly report to the person in charge any mechanical trouble with the forklift, any bad flooring or obstruction in the aisles, and other safety hazards that are encountered. If a forklift is found unsafe then it must be removed from service until repaired by an authorized person.
Preventive maintenance is a proactive measure conducted according to a formal schedule to prevent defects that might affect forklift operation. The forklift owner’s manual will have routine checks and preventive maintenance tasks that must be done by a skilled maintenance person to keep the forklift in safe operating condition. Keep a record of this maintenance as well as any repairs that are made.
Maintain the truck in accordance with rules prescribed by the manufacturer. These are some of the rules that truck operators, who are responsible for maintaining their own equipment, should follow:
To prevent injury or illness when doing maintenance on a forklift:
When you replace parts, make sure they are equivalent to the original manufactured part.
Do not alter or eliminate any forklift parts or add any accessories such as additional counterweights or lifting attachments unless approved by the manufacturer in writing. Make any necessary changes to the load capacity plate and operating instructions.
Operators are responsible for keeping their forklifts clean. At the end or the start of every shift, clean all surfaces of the truck with a suitable cloth to remove all dust, dirt and grease. It’s best to use a wax-treated flannel dusting cloth such as those commonly used to clean dust and dirt off cars.
Forklifts that use gasoline are easy to refuel. However, gasoline is very flammable. Below are recommended best practices for refueling:
Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is a commonly used fuel for forklifts. It is a safe fuel when handled properly. When handled improperly, it can cause serious injury or death.
Below are the requirements and recommended best practices for refueling:
Check each item before the shift starts. Put a check in the box if the item is OK. Explain any unchecked items at the bottom and report them to a supervisor.
Forklift Serial Number:
Hour Meter Reading:
|Tires are inflated and free of excessive wear or damage. Nuts are tight.|
|Forks and mast are not bent, worn, or cracked.|
|Load back rest extension is in place and not bent, cracked, or loose.|
|Overhead guard is in place and not bent, cracked, or loose.|
|Attachments (if equipped) operate OK and are not damaged.|
|Forklift body is free of excessive lint, grease, or oil.|
|Engine oil is full and free of leaks.|
|Hydraulic oil is full and free of leaks.|
|Radiator is full and free of leaks.|
|Fuel level is OK and free of leaks.|
|Battery connections are tight.|
|Covers over battery and other hazardous parts are in place and secure.|
|Load rating plate is present and readable.|
|Warning decals and operators’ manual are present and readable.|
|Seat belt or restraint is accessible and not damaged, oily, or dirty.|
|Engine runs smooth and quiet without leaks or sparks from the exhaust.|
|Turn signal (if equipped) operates smoothly.|
|Lights (head, tail, and warning) work and are aimed correctly.|
|Gauges and instruments are working.|
|Lift and lower operates smoothly without excess drift.|
|Tilt operates smoothly without excessive drift or “chatter”.|
|Control levers are labeled, not loose or binding and freely return to neutral.|
|Steering is smooth and responsive, free of excessive play.|
|Brakes work and function smoothly without grabbing. Proper fluid levels. No fluid leaks.|
|Parking brake will hold the forklift on an incline.|
|Backup alarm (if equipped) works.|