Why is it important for forklift operators to carry out daily checks?

If you own, lease, hire or borrow a Forklift Truck, you must make sure that it is safe for use and fit for the purpose for which it is intended. Employers must also make sure that they have a defect reporting system in place so that when defects are found that they are rectified in a timely manner. Drivers should never be required to drive under conditions that are unsafe or that do not comply with the law.

Daily pre-checks

The majority of faults can be been found and fixed if the operator carries out a forklift pre-check before use. The pre-check only takes a few minutes. It makes sure that obvious defects that could affect forklift safety and the safety of others are identified.

What should an operator inspect during the visual pre-use check?

  • General condition and cleanliness.
  • Engine oil level, fuel level, radiator fluid level (liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), gas, and diesel forklifts).
  • Propane equipment – fuel tank mounting system, fuel tank position pin, propane relief valves and hose condition.
  • 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 holddowns or brackets.
  • Bolts, nuts, guards, chains, or hydraulic hose reels not damaged, missing or loose.
  • Wheels and tyres – check for wear, damage and air pressure (if pneumatic tyres)
  • Forks – forks not bent or at different heights; 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 leaking
  • Seatbelts and restraints work properly; no visible wear or damage; anchors, buckles, etc. function properly.
  • Seat locks – in position
  • The overhead guard is secure with no damaged areas.

What should an operator inspect during the operational pre-use check?

  • Foot brake – pedal holds, unit stops smoothly.
  • Parking brake – holds against slight acceleration.
  • Deadman seat brake – holds when operator rises from seat.
  • Dash control panel – all lights and gauges are operational.
  • Horn – working and loud enough to be heard in working environment;
  • Reverse alarm and other warning devices are operational.
  • Lights – headlights and warning lights 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 the load (check by tilting mast all the way forward and backwards).
  • Cylinders and hoses – not leaking after above checks.
  • Listen for any unusual sounds or noises.
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