[Infographic] Forklift Safety Checklist


Forklifts are widespread in the UK industry and are integral to materials handling. The more popular the forklift has become, the more common accidents and maloperations have occurred. When not operated or maintained properly forklifts can become dangerous, with over 95,000 forklift accidents on average per year. While forklift operation is an integral part of forklift safety, ensuring the forklift is operational can be just as important. Machines must be subject to a vigorous list of checks before operation. Use the forklift safety checklist below to make sure you are operating your forklift safely.

Visual Checks

  • Check all fluid levels
  • Inspect for leaks, cracks, visible defects all over forklift
  • Check mast chains for defects
  • Assess fork condition, ensure they are not bent or cracked
  • Inspect safety decals and nameplates – are they legible? Do they match forklift model?
  • Check operator manual is in correct compartment and in adequate condition
  • Ensure overhead guard is in place

Check your surroundings

  • Ensure no one is in your vicinity
  • Ensure clear visibility; is there any thick fog?
  • Pay attention to workplace rules and regulations
  • Do you need to drive down a ramp?

Operational Checks

  • Test mast chain tension – lift load backrest to eye level and ensure chains are levelled with no tilting
  • Check tires – assess tire pressure, condition, presence of any cuts or gauges and that nuts are tight
  • Check load backrest extension is in place, not bent, cracked or loose
  • Check finger guards
  • Test safety devices – seat belts, horns, etc.
  • Check hood latch is operational
  • Make sure engine runs smoothly and quietly, without leaks or sparks from exhaust
  • Ensure turn signal operates
  • Ensure lights are operational
  • Check lift operates smoothly without excess drift
  • Check tilt operates smoothly without excessive drift or “chatter”
  • Ensure control levers are labelled, not loose or binding and freely return to neutral
  • Ensure steering is smooth and responsive
  • Check brakes work and function smoothly
  • Check parking brake will hold the forklift on an incline

Before you finish

  • Park forklift in designated area
  • Before turning off the forklift, fully lower forks and apply parking breaks

What to check for different types of forklifts

Electric Forklifts

  • Make sure there is no fraying or exposure of wires
  • Ensure battery restraints work as intended
  • Check electrolyte levels are sufficient
  • Check hood latch is operational
  • Ensure battery charge level is ok
  • Check backup alarm works

All Internal Combustion Forklifts

  • Ensure engine oil and coolant levels are sufficient
  • Check air filters are clean and in the correct place
  • Check radiator is free of cracks or other defects

Liquid Petroleum Internal Combustion Forklifts

  • Check the tank is properly mounted and fits on the vehicle, with all restraints and brackets attached without dents or cracks
  • Ensure pressure relief valve faces upwards
  • Check hoses and connectors are attached and functional

Print out this infographic to always have a forklift safety checklist with you!

forklift safety checklist

SEE ALSO: Forklift Training – What You Need to Know

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