Forklift pre operational checks

Published: 07th March 2012
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Before you drive the forklift you must test it to make sure it is safe and sound to use, the forklift can be a dodgy machine if it is faulty or if the operator does not fully understand how to use it.
Understand the operators manual and manufacturer's handbook before attempting to complete the checks needed and to familiarise yourself with the workings of your forklift.

The main purpose of pre operational checks

Detect and report damage or faults
Avert accidents
Take care of the forklift

Making sure that the forklift is in a safe area, away from pedestrians and overhead obstructions, you can split the checks into three sections -

External check
Internal check
Operational check

The Outsidecheck
Check the forks (tines) for any visible signs of cracks and that they are evenly spaced and locked into place with locking pins.
The load backrest guard is free from damage
The mast and assembly is in good condition and that there are no leakage from the hoses
The wheels and tyres and in good condition and that they have the right pressure (if pneumatic) and that there is no shrink-wrap caught behind them.
The overhead guard is fitted and secure with no damage
The Data plate (rated capacity plate) is fitted and is legible
the general condition of the forklift (especially around the counterweight) and that the cabin is clean and free of rubbish)
The Internal check
Check the engine compartment for leaks and that the hoses are in good condition, the fan belt has got good tension and that the filters are clean.
The battery is fixed firmlyand in good condition, the electrolyte level is topped up (consult the operator's manual for levels and use personal protective equipment as the battery contains acid.
Check the engine oil, transmission oil and coolant that the levels are within the limits
Make sure you have enough fuel e.g. LPG, Electric, Diesel depending on the forklift you are using and if using LPG make sure the cylinder is in good condition and has no leaks (also check that it is in date)
Hydraulic oil that it is topped up and the level is within the limits
Brake fluid and power steering levels (if applicable) are within limits
The seat is in good condition and the seat belt is securely fitted and in good operation (this could save your life)
The Operational check
Get into the cabin using the correct technique (3 points of contact from the left side)
Make sure the controls are in neutral and the handbrake is on
Insert the key and start the engine (as per operators manual)
Check that all the gauges and warning devices are working (horn, lights, reversing beeper, flashing light and any other devices) that are fitted to your forklift.
Using the correct hydraulic levers raise the forks to the highest level and then lower, use your tilt lever and make sure you have full movement back and forth, same with side shift and any other levers that are on the forklift has full movement.
Move the forklift slowly and check that the brakes are working in both directions and that the handbrake is working and holds the forklift in place when forward gear is engaged.

Use a Pre shift check sheet!

Taken from FORKLIFTS BITE -Training the Beast and other Secrets
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