Consistent maintenance and inspection are essential for operating a forklift safely. Proper operation improves efficiency and productivity in the workplace.
When forklifts are used in your workplace, setting up a daily procedure to follow will keep everyone aware of potential hazards and areas of concern.
A daily routine for your forklift will also make you aware of any repairs that are needed, helping to keep safety standards and efficiency as high as possible.
What exactly does a forklift routine entail?
We’ve put together this quick guide to give you a basic rundown of what needs to be done before a forklift is used. For the best results, we recommend that this regime be employed daily.
A few mandatory checks before you start driving. They’re important as they will identify any problems or faults that may have recently developed.
Checking the oil level in the engine is a good place to start. Oil needs to be kept at the appropriate level to keep the engine running at its optimum level with minimal ‘wear and tear.’
Like oil, fuel is essential for the correct functioning of a forklift.
It is important to keep the fuel tank fairly full as it helps prompt the correct function of the catalytic converter – the component that reduces the toxicity of the exhaust fumes – and will prolong the life of the engine block.
Finally, check all of the dials for any warning messages. Things like the lights, engine sensors, and brake indicators will all have warning lights and will need to be corrected for safe forklift operation.
Daily Inspection Checklist
Protecting the longevity of your forklift, and guaranteeing all health and safety standards are being met, can feel daunting. We’ve created this ten-point plan to help.
Covering all of these points daily will help ensure a robust forklift inspection, keeping your workplace safe and efficient.
1. Oil And Fuel Level
Make sure that oil and fuel are kept topped up for the health of your engine.
Be aware that you do not need to check the oil or fuel levels in an electric forklift. All forklifts that use fuel will need to be checked – this includes any ‘counterbalance’ trucks. Check with the manufacturer if you’re unsure.
2. Check The Lights
Make sure the rear lights and the headlights are working correctly. Lights are important to illuminate your pathway and alert others that a vehicle is in motion.
Look at each of the lightbulbs individually and make sure that none of them are visibly damaged. If one is broken, you need to replace it before setting off.
3. Blast The Horn
The main function of the horn is to alert others that you’re operating nearby.
Test it before you set off to make sure that it is working and producing a loud enough sound. Not only is it one of the more satisfying items on the checklist, but a fully functioning horn can reduce the chance of workplace accidents.
4. Check The Wheels
Kicking the tires is the easiest way to make sure that they are inflated appropriately. Check the tire treads as well to make sure that they are not bald.
Any bald, worn, or otherwise damaged tires will need to be replaced before operation.
5. Look At The Steering Wheel And Column
You need a fluid and precise steering wheel to safely navigate any vehicle, including a forklift and Telehandlers. Make sure that there is no visible damage and that it turns smoothly.
It’s wise to check the alignment for accuracy as well at this point. If the alignment is off, it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Until you do so, the forklift is not safe to drive.
6. Check The Truck’s Forks
The purpose of a forklift is to lift objects. They’re really the whole point of this machine! Make sure that the forks are not damaged so the forklift can do its job.
If there are any bends or other noticeable defects repairs must be made before the forklift is used.
7. Brake Check
Working and reliable brakes allow the forklift to stop as quickly as possible in the event of an accident. Keep them in proper working order for safety.
Pump the brakes a few times to check for problems – like the pedal sticking – so you can apply them quickly and safely.
8. Make Any Mirror And Seat Adjustments
Make sure that the seat and mirrors are all adjusted for the driver before you set off. Keep in mind that it is likely their positions will be unique to every driver.
Make sure that you adjust it to the best position for you individually before you set off so you are comfortable and can reach everything you need to.
Make sure that you can see out of all of your mirrors at all times. This enables maximum awareness of what is around you.
9. Appropriate Workwear
Is what you are wearing appropriate? You need to be wearing high-visibility clothing that is not baggy. A driver needs to be easily noticeable and excess material may get caught.
Any required protective equipment must be worn – including a hard hat – so be sure that this is inspected for any damage before putting it on. You also need to make sure that your footwear is appropriately sturdy.
10. Check Any Capacity Limits
All forklifts will have a capacity limit; the maximum weight that they can safely carry.
Make sure that all drivers are aware of the forklift’s maximum load before they set off to be sure that any objects that need to be carried do not surpass this limit.
Forklift vehicles are an excellent way to increase workplace productivity. But with incorrect use, they may pose a significant risk to material and life safety.
To make sure that your workplace is as safe as it is efficient, employ a daily checklist. These simple steps can prevent much larger problems, keep you up to date with any issues as and when they arise, keeping both the driver and other workers as safe as possible.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.