Fork Lift Pre-Operational Inspections


In a recent newsletter I reported that 18% of HSE fork lift incident investigations showed the causal effect was mechanical due to ineffective maintenance, 10% involved fork defects, 18% were due to mast/carriage defects, 8% were brake defects and 5% were down to transmission issues.

Pre-operational, or pre-shift, checks should be conducted by the operator in accordance with the specific instructions published in the relevant manufacturers operating handbook. Any defects which may affect the trucks safe operation should be reported to the supervisor or manager so that they can be rectified.

The checks may include:

  • Fork Arms
  • Carriage Plate
  • Backrest Extension (Load Guard)
  • Mast
  • Mast Rollers/Slides
  • Lift Chains and Chain Pulleys
  • HydraulicsPicture1
  • Wheels
  • Tyres
  • External Condition
  • Rated Capacity Plate
  • Operating Position
  • Operator’s Seat
  • Lights
  • Audible Warning Devices
  • Hydraulic Controls
  • Drive and Braking
  • Steering

Other checks will depend on the motive power of the truck in question.

Gas Powered Trucks

The gas cylinder must be undamaged, mounted correctly with the locking pins or straps intact, engaged and secure. Examine the supply pipe for kinks, damage and signs of fouling where possible leaks could occur. Turn the gas supply valve on, checks for leaks, particular attention should be given to the seals on all valves and couplings. The bottle orientation must be checked for accuracy.

Internal Combustion Engine Trucks

Confirm adequate fuel level. Ensure that the ignition key switch and combined starter function correctly, and ignition light should illuminate and the starter turns the engine, the key switch should also satisfactorily stop the engine. If appropriate the cold start and stop controls should be intact and functional. It is especially important that any oil pressure and charging light are working. Physically and visually check any interlocks, instruments and gauges to ensure they are functioning in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating handbook.

Starting Procedure—Electric Trucks

The traction battery is secure and the power supply cable is intact, connected and secure. Confirm adequate charge. Ensure the on/off key switch system activates the power and isolator switch (if fitted) functions correctly. Physically and visually check and additional interlocks or gauges to ensure they are functioning in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating handbook.

And finally…………….

Fault Reporting

The operator must follow the company guidelines and reporting procedures. Starting off by filling in the inspection book and if found unfit for use isolate the truck before reporting the fault to their supervisor.

Operators, unless suitably qualified and authorised, should not carry out repairs and adjustments to lift trucks.

This may appear to be a lengthy process but, in reality, will only take a few minutes to complete.

If you do not have a pre-operational inspection checklist that you are using get in touch and I can send you over an editable template.

Until next time…………


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