The daily care your Forklift’s and their service life depends on a good regular maintenance
routine. The first step in a good maintenance program is a daily operator inspection of the lift.
OSHA states: OSHA requires that all forklifts be examined at least daily before being placed in
service. Forklifts used on a round-the-clock basis must be examined after each shift. [29 CFR
The operator should conduct a pre-start visual check with the key off and then perform an
operational check with the engine running. The forklift should not be placed in service if the
examinations show that the vehicle may not be safe to operate.
The key here is documentation of the inspection. Either electronic or paper the inspection must
be recorded/documented, and the necessary items checked daily. In my career I have seen many
forklifts that the engine ran out of oil and burned up only to find that the daily operator
inspection indicated that the oil levels had be checked daily.
Here are some suggested items to be checked daily:
Before starting your vehicle, conduct a pre-operation (or pre-start) inspection that checks a variety of items, including but not limited to:
- Fluid levels — oil, water, and hydraulic fluid.
- Leaks, cracks or any other visible defect including hydraulic hoses and mast chains. NOTE:
Operators should not place their hands inside the mast. Use a stick or other device to check
- Tire condition and pressure including cuts and gouges.
- Condition of the forks, including the top clip retaining pin and heel.
- Load backrest extension.
- Finger guards.
- Safety decals and nameplates. Ensure all warning decals and plates are in place and legible.
Check that information on the nameplate matches the model and serial numbers and
- Operator manual on truck and legible.
- Operator compartment. Check for grease and debris.
- All safety devices are working properly including the seat belt.
In addition to this general inspection, additional items should be checked depending on the forklift type
(electric or internal combustion, including liquid propane). These include but are not limited to:
- Cables and connectors for frayed or exposed wires
- Battery restraints
- Electrolyte levels
- Hood latch
Internal Combustion Forklifts
- Engine oil
- Brake reservoir
- Engine coolant
- Air filter
- Belts and hoses
- Hood latch
Liquid Propane Forklifts
- Properly mounted tank
- Pressure relief valve pointing up
- Hose and connectors
- Tank restraint brackets
- Tank for dents and cracks
- Tank fits within profile of truck