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Understanding Daily OSHA Forklift Inspection Guidelines

Forklift operator with a checklist

The material handling industry depends on safe and efficient solutions like forklifts to move goods, but certain guidelines must be followed to make sure they are in safe working condition. At Barclay Brand Ferdon, we have served New York and New Jersey with both high-quality products and industry expertise to keep our clients satisfied and safe in the workplace for many years. Here, we explain the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) forklift inspection guidelines, helping you to ensure your company is operating safely and in compliance.

The Purpose of OSHA Forklift Guidelines

Forklifts are highly common across many industries. They move and transport products and goods, and they can be extremely helpful and efficient. However, problems with loading docks, narrow aisles, or physical conditions can be hazardous and lead to accidents with forklifts. OSHA estimates that forklifts account for approximately 100,000 industrial injuries every year, and that one-third of these injuries are deemed serious and result in missing work.

To remedy this, OSHA created a thorough set of forklift operating and maintenance guidelines that must be followed by all employers. Forklift inspections help prevent accidents, set safety standards for your company, and encourage a safe and supportive work environment. It is essential for your business to follow OSHA inspection guidelines to avoid citations and criminal liability.

Forklift overhead shot

Inspection Guidelines

OSHA’s forklift inspection guidelines state that forklift vehicles must be inspected at least daily, or after each shift when used for 24 hours. However, they do not require that forklift inspections be documented, but it may be a good idea to use an inspection checklist to ensure all the essential features are being inspected routinely. These checklists can also provide evidence that forklifts are being inspected properly in case an accident occurs while the forklift is in operation.

OSHA inspection guidelines outline that both a visual and operational inspection be completed. The visual inspection is performed before starting your forklift when the engine is off, and an operational inspection is performed when the engine is running. Each inspection examines different parts of the machine to ensure they’re working correctly and safely, with the checks including:

Visual Inspection

  • Fluid level of oil, water, and hydraulic fluid
  • Hydraulic hoses and mast chains for any leaks or cracks
  • Tire condition and pressure and for any cuts and gouges
  • Condition of the forks, including the top clip retaining pin and heel
  • Load backrest extension
  • Chain tension in the mast using a stick or similar device (not hands)
  • Finger guards
  • Seatbelts and other restraint mechanisms are intact
  • Early warning systems, like the horn, alarms, fire extinguisher, and lights, are fully operational
  • Safety decals and nameplates, making sure they are all in place and legible
  • Operator manual is on truck and legible
  • Operator compartment for grease, debris, and other anomalies

Operational Inspection

  • Accelerator linkage
  • Inch control if equipped
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Controls such as drive control, tilt control, hoist and lowering control, and attachment control
  • Horn, lights, hour meter, and back-up alarm if equipped

When inspecting your forklift, if you notice any defects, damage, or hear any unusual noises or vibrations, you should report it immediately and work should be stopped. If your machine is in good working condition after the inspection, you can get to work. At Barclay Brand Ferdon, we also offer forklift safety training so your employees can be trained on this information and more.

Contact Us Today for More Information

Whether you need material handling equipment or an explanation of OSHA forklift inspection guidelines, the experts at Barclay Brand Ferdon can help. We serve New York and New Jersey with high-quality products, industry expertise, and safety training so our customers can run their businesses as safely and efficiently as possible. Contact us today to ask any questions you may have or request a quote.

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