Safety Checklist

How to Inspect Forklift Before Operating

Every year people are killed or seriously injured by forklifts.

We're going to discuss forklift safety and what you need to do before and during operation.

Voltage should only be operated by someone who holds a current LF class high-risk work licence and has undergone training on the specific type of forklift. Check to ensure the operator's licence and training is current and maintain a record of the licence.

Instruction, training and supervision may be required from time to time to ensure that operators understand and operate the forklift safely and in accordance with procedures.

There should be systems in place to prevent unauthorised operation of a forklift. This could include having an electronic sign-in system or only authorised operators having access to the key.

Before operating the forklift, a pre-operational check should be carried out to ensure the forklift is safe to use. If faults are identified, the forklift should not be used and repairs should be organised.

Checks can be carried out through an electronic system or using a paper-based logbook system. Keeping records of pre-operational checks is a good way of demonstrating that risks to health and safety are being managed.

The overhead protection structure should be in good condition and show no signs of damage or modifications. There should be no items blocking the view through the top of the structure.

Where fitted, all lights must be in good condition and operated correctly - this includes blinkers, brake, reversing and driving lights.

Where fitted, mirrors should be aligned correctly, be clean and not damaged.

Where fitted, warning devices such as the horn, reversing beepers, flashing lights, blue light and other technology should be in good working condition.

Ensure that the forklift is fitted with a compliance plate that provides details of the forklift - this should include the manufacturer, model name or number, serial number, year of manufacture, capacity at maximum lift height and load centres, capacity at other lift heights and load centres, capacity when mast tilted. The plates should be legible and in English.

If any attachments are fitted or used, the forklift load rating plate should be marked to identify these attachments and any alternative capacities.

Load charts should not be fitted as they are often confusing to read and may be interpreted incorrectly.

If the forklift is powered by LP gas, the forklift should be fitted with a compliance plate. When mounted, the cylinder should be correctly orientated with the pressure relief valve at the top and the locating pin in the slot at the bottom. The cylinder should be correctly installed on the mounting bracket and locked tight with the two clamping bands. The bracket should be in good condition. The cylinder valve should be turned off when the forklift is not in use.

The operator's seat should not be damaged and the seat belt should be in good condition and work correctly. Where fitted, the seat belt must be worn. A seat belt that is electronically interlocked to prevent the forklift from traveling until fastened is the best way to ensure that the seat belt is worn whenever the forklift is operated.

The controls should be in good condition. Operation levers should be marked with their operational function. Foot pedals should have rubber boots attached and the boot should be in good condition.

Check the tyres: the tyres should be in good condition, free from damage. Wear must be within allowable limits. Tyres on the same axle should be the same type, diameter and tread pattern. Pneumatic tyres must be inflated to the tyre pressure specified by the manufacturer.

The mast and load guard need to be in good condition. There should not be excessive oil leaks around the hydraulic hoses, fittings or cylinders of the mast. The load guard should not be damaged - it should be straight, securely mounted and not touching the mast.

If unwrapped segmented loads are being carried, the load guard should be of a sufficient height to support 2/3 or the top tier of the load. The fork arms should not be damaged and must not be modified - this includes by drilling holes or fitting tow balls. The heel of the fork arm should not be worn more than 10%.

This can be checked by using either fork wear calipers or a ruler. Measure the thickness of the vertical section of the fork arm and compare it to the thickness of the heel section of the fork arm. If the thickness of a forkhill is less than 90% the thickness of a vertical section, the fork arms need to be replaced.

Forklifts are designed to pick up and move loads - they are not to be used to push or pull a load, especially by using the load guard or fork arms.

Loads should never be dragged.

Persons should never be elevated on a pallet or on the fork arms of a forklift. Loads should never be lifted over people.

Loads should never be carried on the tip of the fork arms. Forks need to be fully inserted under the load and the load evenly distributed along the fork arms.

One fork arm should not be used to lift a load. Slings or chains or the like should not be used to suspend a load from fork arms.

The forklift should be parked on level ground with the fork arms lower to the ground, the hand brake applied and the key removed.

Keep your forklift maintained in a safe and compliant condition.

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