The pre-operation inspection

July 19, 2006
Why and how to perform a comprehensive pre-shift inspection, courtesy of Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America (MCFA).

The importance to you is to:

  1. Reduce the risk of injury to you due to defective equipment.
  2. Verify that the equipment you will operate is in safe working order.

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Federal OSHA requires that all lift trucks be examined before being placed in service and that this examination be performed at least daily. If you use your truck on a multi-shift operation, it must be examined before each shift. Any defects found must be immediately reported and corrected.

About 6% of all lift truck accidents are due to improperly maintained trucks.

Aside from being an OSHA requirement, a pre-operational inspection:

  • Reduces the risk of injury to you and other employees.
  • Improves the condition of the lift truck.
  • Increase productivity.
  • Reduces downtime and maintenance costs.

Use a checklist when performing the pre-operational inspection. A checklist may include the following cautions and checkpoints:

CAUTION: When checking lift chain tension, use a board or a stick. Never place your fingers in this dangerous pinch point area.

CAUTION: When checking hydraulic hoses, use a piece of cardboard. Escaping fluids under pressure can penetrate body tissue causing serious injury or possibly death. If fluid is injected in your skin, seek medical attention immediately.

CAUTION: When checking LP tanks and fittings, always use personal protective equipment such as a face shield, long sleeves and gauntlet gloves when checking LP tanks and fittings. LP is very cold when released and can cause frostbite.

CAUTION: When checking LP tanks and fittings for leaks, use soap solution, no matches or lighter.

CAUTION: When checking battery levels, never use matches or a lighter – hydrogen gas may be present, resulting in an explosion or fire. Always use personal protective equipment such as a face shield and goggles, rubber apron and rubber gloves when checking electrolyte. This is an acid and will cause severe burns to the skin if in contact.

The Visual Inspection

__ Overall condition
__ Frame
__ Tires and wheels
__ Forks
__ Mast, carriage and load backrest extension
__ Lift chains
__ Hydraulic hoses
__ Overhead guard
__ Battery
__ Cables and connectors
__ Battery restraints
__ Electrolyte level
__ Hood latch
__ Capacity plate and all warning decals
__ Operator’s compartment

Internal Combustion Trucks

__ Engine compartment
__ Engine oil
__ Brake reservoir
__ Engine coolant
__ Air filter
__ Belts and hoses
__ Radiator
__ Hood latch

LP Trucks

__ Properly mounted tank
__ Pressure relief valve pointing up
__ Hose and connections
__ Tank restraint brackets
__ Leaks
__ Tank for dents, nicks, cracks
__ Tank fits within profile of truck

Electric Trucks

__ Cables and connectors for frayed, exposed wires
__ Battery restraints in place
__ Electrolyte levels
__ Hood latches properly

The Operational Inspection

__ Operator restraint system
__ Horn
__ Warning devices
__ Unusual engine noise
__ Fuel level
__ Displays and gauges
__ Hydraulics:
__ Mast
__ Tilt
__ Other hydraulic functions
__ Service and park brake
__ Steering
__ Plugging on electric lift trucks

Completion of Inspection

• Report any defects immediately.
• Never operate a truck in need of repair.
• Repairs shall be made by authorized and trained personnel.

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