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pre-shift inspections

Why Are They Important?

OSHA requires that all forklifts be inspected before shifts at least once a day. This common part of the daily routine is well-known in the material handling industry. While the details may vary from business to business, pre-shift forklift inspections should be a cornerstone of your culture of safety. Here are five common questions that show why pre-shift inspections matter so much.

1. Why are pre-shift inspections required?

OSHA requires all forklifts to be inspected at least once daily before beginning work. These are required to ensure all parts are in working order and to identify possible issues before they occur. These inspections also help extend the life of material handling equipment, as they identify issues that need maintenance to keep the forklift in proper working order. Pre-shift inspections are common across industries using different types of heavy equipment.

2. What do pre-shift inspections help prevent?

A pre-shift inspection is designed to help prevent potential safety issues that could be caused by malfunctioning or damaged equipment. Things like hydraulic failure, stability issues, and other issues that can increase the risk of a tip-over or other safety incident. By identifying problem areas and parts that may need maintenance, forklift operators keep themselves, their coworkers, and their businesses safer.

3. How long should a pre-shift inspection take to complete?

A pre-shift inspection should take five to fifteen minutes to complete. Businesses should use an inspection checklist to guide operators through a robust inspection. These checklists also serve as a powerful audit tool for the company.

4. What should you look for in a pre-shift inspection?

A pre-shift inspection of a forklift is what is also known as a “walk around” inspection. In this brief time before beginning work, operators should walk around their forklift and check key components for signs of damage or excessive wear and tear. Key items to check include:

  • Forks for bending or signs of damage
  • Chains for proper tension and greasing
  • Carriage and load backrest for any signs of damage
  • Tires for chunking, tearing, or damage
  • Any signs of leaks or drips from the engine or hydraulics
  • Seatbelt for proper tension and performance

These areas are key for the operator’s safety as well as their coworkers. Many other components should also be checked during a pre-shift inspection – talk with your supervisor to make sure you are aware of the unique requirements of your workplace.

5. How should you train your operators on pre-shift inspections?

Operators should be trained on pre-shift inspections as part of their onboarding and certication process. You should also take the time to regularly check their compliance by asking them to show you how they complete a walk around inspection. Taking the time to make sure your staff are completing this process properly is key for building a culture of safety in your warehouse.

Got Questions?

If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.