Find out exactly what OSHA standards require when it comes to forklift inspections, and download a free forklift inspection checklist you can use today.
Forklifts (OSHA calls them Powered Industrial Trucks) are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or smaller objects on pallets, in crates or other containers, and sometimes with great caution and the right safety procedures… even people.
Note: According to OSHA, over-the-road haulage trucks and earth-moving equipment that has been modified to accept forks are not considered powered industrial trucks.
OSHA Standard 1910.178 covers the requirements for forklifts of all types including rough terrain forklifts, telescoping or boom forklifts, and industrial forklifts.
Only trained and certified operators allowed! The first and most important rule to follow with forklifts - get trained!
Many injuries to both the operator and their co-workers occur because the user of the forklift was not trained in the specific model and type of forklift they tried to use.
OSHA Standard 1910.178(l)(1)(i) states the employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in this [standard].
One aspect of forklift training includes training forklift operators to competently complete the daily forklift inspection. The forklift operator should inspect the forklift every day before using or before each shift when the forklift will potentially be used. When forklifts are used on site around-the-clock then the inspection can take place after each shift.
OSHA Standard 1910.178(g)(7) Industrial trucks shall be examined before being placed in service, and shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Such examination shall be made at least daily. Where industrial trucks are used on a round-the-clock basis, they shall be examined after each shift. Defects when found shall be immediately reported and corrected.
The forklift inspection should include both a visual check and an operational check. During the visual check, the operator should visually inspect the forklift and complete the inspection sheet. After the visual check, then the operator should do an operational pre-use check to ensure everything is operating safely. The forklift inspection sheet should be completed and recorded per the company’s requirements and any problems found during the inspection should be reported to a supervisor immediately.
Forklift inspections should be documented to prove that the standard is being met (without a doubt) and forklift inspection sheets should be kept for a determined period of time according to the company’s stated policy in case there is any reason to refer back to the checklists, including, in the event of any incident with the forklift. (Note: Cal/OSHA regulations require that daily forklift inspection records be retained for at least one year.)
Your forklift checklist should guide you through what you need to visually check and what needs to be checked operationally. OSHA does not have any standards or requirements that specify exactly which items are required on the checklist so you can use the checklist your company prefers.