Imagine, for a moment, that you're using a forklift to put the last delivery of the day into your storage racks. You're in position, and the crate is halfway up to the space on the rack.

Then the forklift gives out.

At best you're looking at a massive group effort to lift the crate off the forklift to move it and have maintenance done. At worst the machine is completely dead, and you'll have to damage the crate in order to get the products off of it. Either way you're wasting time, money, and causing a huge safety hazard.

To avoid situations like this, all you have to do is run this forklift inspection checklist before each shift.

From general wear and tear to leaks and basic functions (such as headlights turning on and a working horn), this checklist will let you know exactly what state your forklift is in before it's put into action and can cause any problems.

But enough talk - let's get to it.

Pre-inspection details:

Record your details

Before we being the forklift inspection checklist proper you need to record your details in the form fields below. This is primarily for documentation's sake, since this will let everyone see the inspections you've carried out.

Note down inspection details

Next you need to record the details of the forklift you're inspecting. Again, this is largely for the sake of anyone looking back on previous inspections - this will let them identify exactly what inspections were carried out, when they were performed, and which forklift they were examining.

Record these details using the form fields below.

Motor off checks:

Check for general damage and leaks

Kicking off this forklift inspection checklist you need to check around the entire machine for damage, cracks, leaks, and so on. The easiest way to do this is to just walk around the forklift and visually inspect each element in turn for obvious damage.

Record any damage you find using the form field below.

Inspect tires

Next you need to inspect the forklift's tires to make sure they aren't damaged, have sufficient grip, and have a high enough pressure.

You don't need any fancy tools for this - just take a look at them and see if there's any visible damage (cuts, tears, etc) and whether the tire looks deflated (which usually denotes a puncture).

Compare the edge of the tire to the 50% wear line, which is usually marked above the tire size. If the wear line is on the edge of the tire, then the tires need replacing.

Record your findings using the form field below.

Determine fork condition

Now it's time to check that the fork of the forklift is in good condition - you're going to be lifting heavy loads with it after all.

Give the fork a once-over to check for any visible damage, such as missing sections, cracks, and so on. Also, remember to check the top clip retaining pin for the forks and the fork heels for damage.

Fill in the form field below to record your findings.

Check the load backrest extension

While not all forklifts have these, it's worth checking the load backrest for any damage, and to make sure that it's attached securely.

Record your observation using the form field below.

Make sure finger guards are present

This step is self-explanatory - you need to make sure that finger guards are installed and in good condition. Note whether they were present or not using the dropdown form field below.

Check the overhead guard

Now you need to check that the overhead guard (the roof) is installed and free from damage. Once you've examined it, note down whether the guard is in satisfactory condition using the form field below.

Inspect fluid levels

It's time to examine the fluid levels of the forklift. Specifically, you need to check the levels of the brake, hydraulic, and transmission fluid.

All of these should have dipsticks to monitor the levels easily, but consult your forklift operations manual if you can't locate the container to carry out the check.

Note down your findings using the form fields below.

Test the seat belt

Next up, you need to check the forklift's seat belt for wear and tear, and to make sure that it works correctly. Much like the overhead guard, this is in the interest of your own safety, so make sure you don't take this for granted!

Check that the seat belt is installed, that it clips in securely, and that there are no major signs of wear and tear, then fill out the form field below with what you find.

Check the battery restraint system

This stage of the forklift inspection checklist is simple - all you have to do is check that the machine's battery is secured tightly.

Check the battery restraint system, then indicate its state using the form field below.

Make sure operator's manual is in the container

This is an easy step, as all you have to do is check that the forklift's operation manual is inside the container provided.

Again, make a note of whether the manual is there using the form field below.

Verify that capacity plate is attached

The capacity plate is a great reminder for both people with a lot of experience with a forklift, and those who've never operated one before. As such, it's important that the plate remains attached so that the forklift's maximum load can be seen at a glance.

Check that the plate is installed, then record the fact using the form field below.

Motor on checks:

Turn on the motor

Before you can continue with the forklift inspection checklist you need to turn the motor on. This is because the following checks require that the engine is running.

Once the forklift is running, tick off this task and continue.

Check the accelerator

First thing after turning the motor on you need to test the accelerator. Don't go crazy with this (it's not a drag race), but instead gently test the accelerator to make sure that the forklift actually moves.

Once you've tested it, note down your result with the form field below.

Make sure that you can reverse

A massive part of operating a forklift is in being able to reverse once you lift or deposit palettes in storage, and so you need to make sure that the vehicle's reverse gear is working.

Put the forklift into reverse and lightly use the accelerator. If you start moving backward, you know that everything's in order. Mark as such using the form field below.

Make sure the brakes are working

Now it's time to test both the regular brake and emergency brake. To do this, first accelerate to a reasonable speed and then apply the normal break to slow to a halt.

Next, move to the top of a small slope and let the forklift begin to roll down from a standstill. Before picking up much speed, apply the parking brake to check that it works.

Record the results of your tests using the form fields below.

Try out your horn

While it's probably the easiest test in this forklift inspection checklist, you still need to try the horn to make sure that it works before each shift.

Once you've tried it out, use the form field below to make a note of whether it worked or not.

Check the lights

Another easy step now, as you need to test that the forklift's lights are working. While this primarily relates to the headlights, you should also check that the turning signals, brake lights, and reverse lights are in working order.

Once all of these have been checked, record your findings using the form fields below.

Test the fork operation

Finally, you need to test the lifting functions of the forklift. This means testing four functions - raising the forks, lowering the forks, tilting the forks backward, and tilting them forwards.

Once you've tested all four of these functions use the form fields below to record which systems were working correctly.

Final forklift inspection checklist verdict:

Give the final inspection verdict

Congratulations! You've finished the forklift inspection checklist and can now note your final inspection verdict before getting on with your shift.

Note whether the machine passed or failed (it will fail if any of the previous checks were failed), and then move on to your next task.


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