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 forklift accidents. 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 and checklists that must be followed by all employers. OSHA 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.
OSHA 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. 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 check is a forklift pre-operational inspection checklist, meaning it is performed before starting your forklift and while the engine is off. The 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 the following components:
Visual Forklift Inspection
- Fluid level of oil, water, brake, and hydraulic fluid is appropriate.
- Hydraulic hoses and mast chains have no leaks or cracks.
- Tire condition and pressure is ideal, and tires have no cuts and gouges.
- Condition of the forks is ideal, including the top clip retaining pin and heel.
- Load backrest extension is securely attached.
- Chain tension in the mast is adequate, using a stick or similar device (not hands).
- Finger guards are securely attached.
- Overhead guard is securely attached.
- Seatbelts and other restraint mechanisms, including the battery restraint system, are intact.
- Early warning systems, like the horn, alarms, fire extinguisher, and lights, are fully operational.
- Safety decals and nameplates are all in place and legible.
- Operator manual is on truck and legible.
- Operator compartment is free of grease, debris, and other anomalies.
- Battery has the appropriate charge and electrolyte/water levels.
- Propane tank for gas models is free of damage and rust corrosion.
- Hood latch is securely fastened.
- Engine air cleaner is inspected and restriction alarm is checked, if applicable.
- Fuel sedimenter is inspected for diesel forklift models.
Operational Forklift Inspection
- Accelerator linkage is functioning as intended.
- Inch control is functioning as intended for forklift models equipped with this feature.
- Service and parking brakes are operating smoothly.
- Steering is operating smoothly.
- Controls such as drive control, tilt control, hoist and lowering control, and attachment control are operating as intended.
- Horn, lights, and back-up alarm are functioning.
- Gauges such as the hour meter, instrument monitor, engine oil pressure, and ammeter are functioning.
- Cab wipers, defroster, and heater are functioning smoothly, if applicable.
When inspecting your forklift, if you notice any defects, damage, or hear any unusual noises or vibrations, you should report the issue immediately, and work should be stopped. If your machine is in good working condition after the inspection, you can get to work. Note that forklifts vary in their designs, and OSHA recommends that the above checklists should be modified to fit your unique machines as required. Additionally, OSHA advises businesses to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and review the forklift owner’s and operator’s responsibilities for maintaining and using this equipment.
Everyone on the job who operates or owns forklifts should be aware of their responsibilities and know how to satisfy these forklift inspection checklists. At Barclay Brand Ferdon, we offer forklift safety training so your employees can be trained on this information and more. You can choose from our Basic Forklift Operation Safety class or Train-the-Trainer program, which both cover requirements from OSHA, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
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.