The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported, based on National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) Surveillance System data, that 1,021 workers were killed between 1980 and 1994. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that every year 100 workers die from forklift-related accidents and that the injury toll reaches 20,000. (You can know more about our forklift safety training program by visiting this page.)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires workers to inspect forklifts and do visual checks before using them every shift in pursuance of the standard 1910.178 for powered industrial trucks. Found below are some of the best practices recommended by OSHA and global trucking company Linde Material Handling for inspecting a forklift.
Before Starting the Forklift
OSHA requires workers to perform a visual check before starting the forklift. Check the forklift’s fluid levels (e.g. engine oil, coolant, hydraulic oil) if they’re sufficient for operations. Check whether hoses, tires, mass and chains are free of damages. (Use a stick when checking the chain tension. Never insert your fingers into the mast.)
Make sure your mirrors are tilted to the right direction. Are the decals (stickers containing control symbols) still clear and in the right place? Are the seat belts securely attached and not tattered? Are the guardings, locking devices and pins secure and in good condition?
Pre-Shift Engine Running
Linde Material Handling, a global truck and assembly parts maker, recommends taking the forklift for a “test drive.” But first things first: according to the company’s instructional YouTube video, workers should enter the forklift cabin from the left side and should not lean or hold on to the steering wheel for support while getting in.
Next, check the horns, lights and gauges if they are working. Now put the forklift in neutral gear. Drive the forklift forwards and in reverse to check the forklift for any engine noises and vibrations and to check the breaks. Move the lift to the sides and forwards and backwards. It should be able to move seamlessly in those directions.
Did you encounter any problems with the forklift? Turn off the engine, remove the key and tag the forklift correctly (take your company’s lockout and tagout procedures of course). Report the problems to the right people.
Linde Material Handling warns workers not to repair any broken component on the forklift if they are not trained and authorized to do so.
OSHAcampus.com is your premier leader in online OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 training for the Construction and General Industries. Visit our blog section regularly for industry updates, tips, and for more information on how our courses can help you keep safe on the job.