Forklifts are used in various industries for lifting and moving heavy loads. However, operating a forklift can be hazardous if not done carefully and responsibly. To ensure the safety of the operator and other employees working in the area, the operator should conduct a daily forklift checklist.
This article will discuss the importance of completing a daily forklift checklist, what the daily forklift checklist should include, and the benefits of implementing a daily forklift checklist.
Understanding the Dangers of Neglecting Forklift Maintenance Checklists
One of the biggest dangers of neglecting forklift daily checklists is the risk of accidents and injuries. A forklift can malfunction during operation, leading to accidents like tipping over or dropping heavy loads onto workers. This can result in serious injuries such as broken bones, concussions, and even fatalities. About 75 to 100 deaths occur yearly from forklift-related injuries in the United States.
Another danger associated with faulty forklifts is the risk of fires and explosions. A small fire can quickly escalate into a giant inferno, putting the safety of workers and the entire workplace at risk. Forklifts operate on fuel or battery power. When they are damaged or have loose components in the engine or electrical system, they can overheat and spark, igniting flammable materials nearby.
Inadequate visibility is another issue that can lead to danger. Forklifts are designed with limited visibility to accommodate the high load capacity and small turning radius. However, a faulty forklift may have damaged or missing mirrors, making it difficult for the operator to see pedestrians, equipment, and other obstacles.
Finally, poorly maintained forklifts can release toxic fumes such as carbon monoxide due to exhaust leaks or incorrect fuel mixtures. This poses a health hazard to workers and violates safety regulations, particularly if working indoors.
The Importance of Conducting Forklift Daily Checklists
As mentioned in the previous section, forklifts can be very dangerous if they are not maintained and running at 100%. By conducting a daily forklift checklist, the operator can identify any potential hazards that may have arisen from the previous day’s use, such as leaks or faulty controls. The checklist also ensures that the forklift is in good condition before using it, which can prevent accidents caused by equipment failure. In addition, conducting a daily forklift checklist is a legal requirement under OSHA regulations.
Your Step-by-Step Forklift Daily Checklist
A daily forklift checklist should include a list of items to be inspected before using the forklift. These items should consist of the forklift’s mechanical components and operating systems. Here is a sample list of items to check:
1. Brakes – Check the brakes to ensure they function correctly.
2. Horn – Test the horn to ensure it is loud enough to be heard.
3. Lights – Test the headlights and taillights to ensure they are working correctly.
4. Tires – Check the tires to verify they are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure.
5. Fluid levels – Check the fluid levels, including oil, hydraulic fluid, and coolant.
6. Controls – Test all the controls to ensure they work correctly.
7. Steering – Check the steering to ensure it is responsive and not too loose.
8. Seat belt – Verify that the seat belt is in good working condition and fastens appropriately.
9. Forks – Check the forks for any damage, such as cracks or bends, and verify that they are correctly attached to the forklift.
10. Load capacity – Confirm that the forklift’s capacity is sufficient for the intended load.
Some of these steps seem pointless to do daily and could probably be ignored most of the time without an issue, but why take the risk? It just takes one issue to become deadly or cost you your job. Also, if you don’t check daily, when will you actually check? Weekly, monthly, ever?
Forklift owners have a duty to maintain their equipment. That said, forklift servicing and maintenance can get expensive fast. Here’s 10 ways you can reduce maintenance costs.
Benefits of Implementing a Daily Forklift Inspection Checklist
Implementing a daily forklift checklist can provide several benefits. The most significant benefit is reducing the risk of accidents by ensuring the forklift is in good working condition before use. Accidents can result in lost work time, medical expenses, and increased insurance costs. By constantly checking the forklift, operators can minimize the risks associated with the equipment.
Another advantage of conducting a daily forklift checklist is identifying issues before they become more significant problems. For instance, if an operator notices a leaking hydraulic line, this can be addressed immediately before it results in considerable damage to the forklift or an accident.
Moreover, adhering to a daily forklift checklist can extend the life of the equipment. Regular maintenance and inspections can help catch problems before they get out of hand, saving money.
Lastly, practicing regular forklift checks can instill a workplace safety culture. Employees who see their colleagues adhering to safety standards will also start to take safety seriously, and this can create a safer work environment for everyone.
Simply put, a forklift daily checklist is critical for maintaining employee safety, equipment longevity, and regulatory compliance. Companies prioritizing safety by implementing and maintaining forklift checklists can improve their safety standards, save money, and be confident that their equipment will last.
Choose HTX for Your Forklift Needs
HTX Material Handling has experienced technicians who can troubleshoot and fix any issues with the forklift, ensuring that it operates smoothly and efficiently. Additionally, HTX can upgrade old forklift models with newer ones that have better features and are more reliable. Start a conversation to learn more, or check out our full suite of services today!