Make forklift safety a priority with a maintenance plan

Safety is about more than just the operator. The equipment also plays a huge role.

When it comes to forklift safety, there are two main factors involved – your operators and your equipment. In order to avoid dangerous, costly accidents and repairs, it is important that both your operators and your forklifts are in tune and up to code with daily and scheduled preventative maintenance checks.

Forklift Operator Safety

Your forklift operators are your first line of defense when it comes to forklift safety. It’s up to each operator and fleet manager to ensure day-to-day safety is as efficient as possible. They are the ones your operation relies on to report if a forklift isn’t working in optimal conditions which could lead to hazardous work environments or worse, injury to themselves or other workers.

Reporting possible issues with forklifts is so important that OSHA requires operators perform a daily lift truck inspection checklist before their shift. Below is a list of what a list might look like for a gas forklift. Check lists will vary based on type of forklifts in your fleet.


Operator's Daily Checklist for Internal Combustion Engine Industrial Truck

Engine Off Checks

  • Leaks – Fuel, Hydraulic Oil, Engine Oil or Radiator Coolant
  • Tires – Condition and Pressure
  • Forks, Top Clip Retaining Pin and Heel – Check Condition
  • Load Backrest – Securely Attached
  • Hydraulic Hoses, Mast Chains, Cables and Stops – Check Visually
  • Overhead Guard – Attached
  • Finger Guards – Attached
  • Propane Tank (LP Gas Truck) – Rust Corrosion, Damage
  • Safety Warnings – Attached (Refer to Parts Manual for Location)
  • Battery – Check Water/Electrolyte Level and Charge
  • All Engine Belts – Check Visually
  • Hydraulic Fluid Level – Check Level
  • Engine Oil Level – Dipstick
  • Transmission Fluid Level – Dipstick
  • Engine Air Cleaner – Squeeze Rubber Dirt Trap or Check the Restriction Alarm (if equipped)
  • Fuel Sedimentor (Diesel)
  • Radiator Coolant – Check Level
  • Operator's Manual – In Container
  • Nameplate – Attached and Information Matches Model, Serial Number and Attachments
  • Seat Belt – Functioning Smoothly
  • Hood Latch – Adjusted and Securely Fastened
  • Brake Fluid – Check Level

Engine On Checks – Unusual Noises Must Be Investigated Immediately

  • Accelerator or Direction Control Pedal – Functioning Smoothly
  • Service Brake – Functioning Smoothly
  • Parking Brake – Functioning Smoothly
  • Steering Operation – Functioning Smoothly
  • Drive Control – Forward/Reverse – Functioning Smoothly
  • Tilt Control – Forward and Back – Functioning Smoothly
  • Hoist and Lowering Control – Functioning Smoothly
  • Attachment Control – Operation
  • Horn and Lights – Functioning
  • Cab (if equipped) – Heater, Defroster, Wipers – Functioning
  • Gauges: Ammeter, Engine Oil Pressure, Hour Meter, Fuel Level, Temperature, Instrument Monitors – Functioning

Forklift Maintenance Safety

The best safety measure you can take to ensure your equipment continues to operate under safe conditions, both for the machine and the operators, is to implement a preventative maintenance plan for your fleet. When your forklifts aren’t working in optimal condition, it creates many hazards, unsafe working conditions and even emergency situations where injuries may occur. Preventive maintenance increases the safety of your forklifts and the safety of your workers resulting in fewer on the job injuries and accidents.

Understand how preventative maintenance can impact your operation and save you money.

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During a preventative maintenance visit, a factory trained expert will visit your facility to identify any possible issues with your forklifts and fix them before they have a chance to cause harm. You can work together with your service provider to determine appropriate intervals for planned maintenance. Because of budgeting purposes, many customers schedule visits based on the calendar. In actuality, it might make more sense to schedule preventative maintenance visits based on hours of forklift usage.

Even on your operation’s busiest days, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the safety of your equipment and your workers. Protect your workers from injury and your company from unforeseen expenses with a preventative maintenance plan for your fleet.

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