Have You Checked Your Forklift Today?
When it comes to the safety of your workplace, the importance of daily operational checks on your forklift should never be underestimated. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide protocols, recording materials and relevant training to allow these checks to occur effectively. Individual operators have a responsibility also to stay vigilant in carrying them out thoroughly to ensure equipment is never operated in an unsafe condition. The checks also allow maintenance issues or minor faults to be identified early before they become major issues with extensive associated costs, downtime, damage to facilities or product and risk of injury to operator and other personnel.
When you hire with us at Waverley Forklifts (WFL), we provide you with a daily check log book for your forklift. It, like most daily check format templates, has a Before Start (Pre Start) section of checks you make visually by walking around the fork before you operate it. There is also an After Start section you make once you are seated and the machine is running.
Before Starting Your Forklift
It may seem obvious, but the best place to start would be to check the forklift for a fault tag or anything unusual recorded in the log book during the previous day. If, for whatever reason, the problem hasn’t been rectified, following up on issues could save you unnecessarily trying to identify something that is already noted.
You will see above that a large portion of the Checklist relates to water and oil levels. The WFL log book lists battery water, hydraulic oil, engine oil and transmission oil as areas to check; they are essential and should be marked off. It can also be useful to check the level of your fuel, brake fluid and coolant (it will depend on your type forklift as to which checks are relevant). You will need to consult the owners manual for appropriate levels specific to the model. Wear protective gloves when necessary and beware of leaks and the associated fire hazard they create.
For “Tyre Pressure and Condition” you are checking for correct fit, even wear that is not excessive, sufficient tread and inflation levels.
With “Wheel Nuts/Clamps” you are checking the wheel is securely fixed to the machine, and that the bolts are tight.
“Physical Damage” is one point that can encompass a lot of observation but it is extremely important you are thorough with this. External damage could indicate internal damage, plus the possibility of damage to racking or other equipment on site if an unreported collision has occurred. Some common things to look out for are excessive wear to the tynes, bent or unsecured guards, incorrectly tracking mast chains, damaged or leaking cylinders and hoses or labelling missing.
The “Lifting Capacity” check is ensuring you are aware of the Load Rating Plate and that it is in place, legible and mentions any attachment fitted to the forklift. If this Plate cannot be interpreted, that is automatic cause for the machine to be removed from use.
The “Seat Belts” check involves inspection not just of the restraint but of the seat itself. It should be both secure and undamaged, with no sign of loosening.
After Starting Your Forklift
You should always enter your forklift using three points of contact. Start your machine, adjust the seat till comfortable and fasten your seatbelt. Scan all gauges and instruments on the display to ensure they all show correct readings and no error codes are present.
The checks listed in the WFL logbook (and as per the image above) are self-explanatory. They are mainly concerned with ensuring the forklift responds appropriately to all commands and is capable of communicating to other personnel in the area via light and sound signals. A fluid leak check is best carried out once you have moved off in the forklift and can view the area it was parked over.
Report A Fault
A check is only effective if you record any abnormalities found and report to a supervisor with anything that makes the forklift unsafe to operate. Similarly, just because you complete a check before operation, doesn’t mean a fault couldn’t develop during shift so common sense should be exercised.
If you find anything wrong at any time, follow the STIR protocol:
S top the forklift immediately.
T ag the forklift as out of service to stop anybody using it.
I solate by removing the key
R eport the fault to your supervisor or other authorized person and record the problem in the Log Book
Fill out a danger tag that includes the fault, date found and operator who found it and fit it to the forklift in a position that won’t be missed by the next operator. DO NOT use the forklift until repairs have been authorized and then carried out by a qualified technician or someone appropriately competent.