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Forklifts & Powered Equipment

How Often Should Operators Inspect Their Forklift?

Posted September 12, 2022

Forklifts are powerful machines that keep materials moving. As such, they need to be in top working order for every use. Regular inspections can help make sure your equipment is ready when you need it. But how often should operators inspect their forklift? The answer might surprise you.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), powered industrial trucks, like forklifts, require regular inspections. Operators need to inspect their forklift every day or at every shift change. Doing so can help you stay safe as you get the job done.

However, there’s more to forklift inspection than just knowing the required frequency. Let’s look at a few details about forklift safety and inspections.

How Often Should You Inspect a Forklift?

Forklift inspections are essential in any warehouse or material handling setting. OSHA requires that forklifts are inspected at least daily. If the machine is in continuous use, it must be inspected at each operator change. Generally, this occurs after each shift. 

What if the forklift isn’t used daily? If a forklift is used periodically, say once or twice a month, you might not have to inspect it daily. In these cases, OSHA rules allow inspections only to occur before the machine is used.

Any defects found during the inspection must be corrected before the forklift is operated again.

It’s important to keep in mind that even equipment that is out of service and in storage needs to be serviced and maintained on a regular basis. Learn more about forklift service programs from Naumann/Hobbs.

Does OSHA Require a Forklift Checklist?

There’s a lot that goes into inspecting a forklift. The kind of inspection you perform might vary by the kind of equipment you use. For example, an electric or battery-powered forklift has different inspection needs than an internal combustion engine (IC) forklift. Using a checklist is a handy way to ensure OSHA inspection requirements are met and for health and safety.

Sample Forklift Inspection Checklist

Thankfully, OSHA has put together sample inspection checklists to ensure all bases are covered and the equipment is thoroughly inspected. Items on OSHA’s inspection checklist for an electric industrial truck or forklift include:

  • Motor-Off Checks
    • Confirm there are no hydraulic or battery leaks
    • Check the condition and pressure of the tires
    • Look at the condition of forks, top clip retaining pin, and heel
    • Ensure the load backrest is attached
    • Perform a visual inspection of hoses and mast chains
    • Make certain finger and overhead guards are attached
    • Verify proper fluid levels, like brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, and transmission fluid
    • Ensure the operator’s manual is present and the capacity plate is attached
    • Check the battery charge and water/electrolyte levels
    • Make sure operator protection measures are in place
  • Motor-On Checks
    • Ensure the accelerator linkage, parking brake, service brake, and steering operation are working smoothly
    • Confirm the tilt control, hoist and lowering control, drive control, and attachment control are working properly
    • Make sure the horn, lights, and alarms are in working order
    • Verify the hour meter, battery discharge, and other instrument monitors are working as required

Forklift operators should keep a log of inspection sheets to record all findings.

What If There’s a Problem?

What if you find a defect with the forklift when you’re going through the inspection checklist? In this case, any defect needs to be corrected by a qualified forklift repair technician before the equipment is used.

Naumann/Hobbs offers expert forklift repair services and can help you keep your materials moving.

How Often Should Forklifts Be Serviced?

Forklifts can be a significant expense and are crucial to many business operations. From warehouses to manufacturing facilities and beyond. You likely need this valuable piece of industrial equipment to be operational at all times.

Because forklifts are so essential to operations, regular service and preventative maintenance are extremely important. Most forklift service experts and forklift manufacturers recommend that your equipment go in for service every 200 hours.

Full service after 200 hours for an IC forklift might include:

  • A thorough inspection of components like lift controls, spark plugs, and rotors
  • Changing the oil, oil filter, and air filter
  • Adjusting the engine’s idle speed and ignition timing
  • Making sure all components and chassis are lubricated

A skilled forklift maintenance technician, like those at Naumann/Hobbs, can provide more information about your forklift service needs.

Forklift Service and More from Naumann/Hobbs

Naumann/Hobbs makes forklift maintenance easy with a variety of service programs, including:

  • Planned Maintenance Programs
  • Total Maintenance and Repair Programs
  • Managed Maintenance Programs

The experts at Naumann/Hobbs can help you identify your maintenance needs and goals while offering industry-leading solutions. 

In addition to helping you stay OSHA compliant through forklift inspections and maintenance, Naumann/Hobbs can also help you meet forklift safety training needs.

Contact Naumann/Hobbs today to learn more about services and programs.

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