By: Paul Pantages
Manager Safety Services
A general, pre-shift inspection is a very important part of a forklift operator’s job. Never operate a Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) without conducting a thorough pre-shift inspection.
As with all pre-shift inspection machinery (cranes, high-lifts, etc.), skimming over or pencil-whipping the inspection checklist could easily result in an operator overlooking a very important defect with the equipment. This can cause serious injury to the operator or other co-workers.
It may seem like you're answering the same questions each day (and you are) and that you're looking at the same parts everyday (and you are) but nonetheless, it is important to always check for defects or issues in the equipment.
Forklifts get a lot of use throughout a 24 hour period of time and things do happen. Drivers may hit something or lift something that could cause damage to parts of the forklift. Items wear and cracks that may not show up originally on the machinery may finally become noticeable after time and use. You don’t want to be the one who finds the defect the HARD WAY.
Cracked hoses or defective electrical components are probably the most commonly found items. If you find an item, put it on the checklist and bring it to your supervisor's attention. Notify your supervisor and follow company procedure to either put a work order on the machine or take it out of service.
It is also important to keep the forklifts clean. Carrying tools and other loose equipment on the carriage of the forklift can impact safe operation.
Cell phone usage while on machinery is dangerous and employees should refer to their company handbooks for more information about company cell phone policies.
Keep in mind: your life is on the line while using this machinery. Good pre-shift inspections are IMPORTANT! Take pre-shift inspections seriously and follow your company’s provided checklists.