Health, Safety, Security and Environment

Forklift Operator’s Daily Checklist and safety Tips

7 min read

The forklift is one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment on the worksite. These powered industrial trucks are used to lift and transport loads with deft and precision. Although forklifts are powerful, there is risk involved in operating any industrial machine. With over an estimated one million forklifts estimated to be in operation, it’s essential to ensure crews are trained on proper safety measures and operator inspect it using Forklift Operator’s Daily Checklist

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates that forklift accidents  cause roughly 34,900 serious injuries and 85 fatal accidents every year. Even more alarming is that 25 percent of these accidents are the result of inadequate training, showing the importance of educating every worker on the critical rules of safe forklift operation. in this article you will be able to download the Forklift Operator’s Daily Checklist and will be familiar with the most essential tips for forklift safety. ( Read : 4 Major Forklift Accidents and Prevention )

Forklift Operator's Daily checklist

Get Forklift Certification

Since many accidents are due to poor training, it is recommended that only those who have been trained and licensed in accordance with OSHA standards be responsible for operating a  forklift. Employers should evaluate their employees’ performance at least once every three years and supplement training with lectures, videos, software training, and demonstrations.

Wear Proper Clothing

Forklift operators should be dressed with the appropriate safety equipment, including safety shoes, hard hats, and a high-visibility jacket. Make sure to tuck away loose clothing to prevent it from getting caught on the forklift.

Know the Forklift Class

OSHA recognizes many different forklift types and classifications. Since each type has its own structure, weight limit, traveling speed, turning radius, and usage, it’s important to know your equipment in order to follow the best safety practices.

Inspect the Equipment Daily

Forklifts should be thoroughly inspected before every use. Daily checks with the shift supervisor and Operator are recommended to identify and log any problems or defects( use forklift operator’s daily checklist ) download below. Any equipment that requires repair should never be operated. Some of the recommended checks include:

  • Test operating controls such as brakes, lights, horn, and steering wheel
  • Check mast and overhead guard for damage
  • Examine tire and fluid levels (hydraulic, brake, engine, fuel, and coolant)
  • Check for water, oil, or radiator leaks
  • Ensure the forks are in good condition (e.g. straight, no cracks, no distortion)
  • Look for potential hazards
Forklift Operator's Daily checklist
Forklift Operator’s Daily checklist

When using a forklift, it is important to follow all worksite rules, signs, and regulations. Here are some best practices to help you observe your operating environment and protect yourself and the other individuals on the worksite.

Maintain 360° Visibility

Keep forks low to the ground to provide clear forward visibility. If the load restricts your visibility, operate the equipment in reverse. Always ensure you have a good view of the rack when you are positioning the load. Additional best practices defined by OSHA are:

  • Always make eye contact with pedestrians and other workers
  • Always look in the direction of travel
  • Use rear-view mirrors to boost visibility
  • Use headlights if working at night, outdoors, or in areas where additional lighting is needed

You can read the rest of the tips on the OSHA website.

Implement a Floor Marking System

A floor marking system can help increase worker safety. Use yellow to mark physical hazards, such as areas prone to falling or stumbling, and red to delineate fire hazards, fire equipment and emergency switches. Place wayfinders and signs throughout the site to keep pedestrians away from forklift paths, lead forklifts along safe routes, and improve the overall flow of traffic.

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Maintain Equipment Capacity

Be aware of the capacity of your forklift and any attachments used. Avoid hauling weight that exceeds the counterweight of the forklift. Overloading a forklift can cause the rear wheels to rise off the ground and the whole machine to fall over, causing injury to personnel and damage to the equipment and materials.

Never Carry Extra People

Do not allow other workers to ride on the equipment with you unless a second seat is fitted into the forklift. Do no use the forklift to lift people, as forklifts are designed to carry loads. If you need to lift a person, use only a secure work platform and cage.

Pay Attention to the Forklift’s Stability

Before using a forklift, make sure your hands and shoes are completely dry and sit in a comfortable position with all the controls within reach. In addition to seating yourself securely, take the following steps before operating the forklift to increase your safety.

Each forklift has a center of gravity – the point where the weight has equal concentration – that it shares with the load it carries. Forklifts are built on a three-point suspension system, called the “stability triangle” that operators must stay within to prevent it from tipping over. The heavier the load, the further out the center of gravity is from the load center, decreasing your forklift’s lifting capacity.

Ensure Loads are Stable and Secure

When placing loads on the loading dock, be sure to check them for balance. Travel with the load tilted backwards and keep forks as low as possible to increase the stability of the equipment, especially when navigating on ramps. Use ropes or bindings to secure stacks and heavy loads if necessary and make sure any pallets or skids used are the appropriate weight for the load.

( Read Operator dies when forklift falls off loading dock )

Move at the Appropriate Speed

Drive your forklift within the designated speed limits. It’s important to not stop, turn, change directions suddenly, or move fast when making sharp turns, as these actions can cause the forklift to tip over. If your forklift starts to dip, do not try to jump clear of the machine. Experts recommend staying in the vehicle, gripping the wheel, and bracing your feet.

Maintain a Safe Operating Distance

Always be mindful of the surrounding equipment on the worksite. Do not operate a forklift in close proximity to other machinery unless absolutely necessary, and keep a safe distance to allow you room to stop safely and avoid other machines that are moving in an unpredictable manner.

( Read Forklift Maintenance Tips)

Avoid Hazardous Areas of the Equipment

Avoid standing or walking under a load, lifting mechanism, or forklift attachment, as loads can fall off on anyone positioned below it. Keep hands and feet clear away from the forklift mast, as a moving mast can cause serious injury.

Refuel and Recharge the Forklift

It’s important to keep equipment fully charged and fueled. Be sure to recharge and refuel in specially designated locations, which are usually well-ventilated and flame-free areas. Be diligent in switching off the equipment every time it’s being refueled.

Park the Forklift at the End of the Shift

At the end of the shift, be sure to always park the equipment in the designated and authorized areas. The construction company should make sure the parking areas do not block pathways or obstruct any exits or entrances. Fully lower the forks until they fit the floor, apply the parking brake, turn off the engine, and remove the key from the ignition.

( Download : E-Books:Forklift Safety Guide )

Download the Checklists

These checklist not all-inclusive. You may wish to add to them or delete portions that do not apply to your workplace. Carefully consider each item as you come to it and then make your decision. Do not spend time with items that have no application to your workplace.

Forklift Operator’s Daily Checklist

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