Forklift Checklist

Forklifts are an essential piece of equipment to improve material handling activites, but cause dangers when not adequately operated, maintained or inspected. The operation of loading and unloading equipment when not performed by a competent person can cause serious injury.

Question Response Type
1. Confirm who is operating the forklift. Text Answer
2. Is the operator qualified and trained to use the forklift? Yes No N/A
3. Does the equipment require maintenance or service? Yes No N/A
4. Does the operator have a spotter/flagger to assist in navigation? Yes No N/A
5. Has the operator verified the weight of the material or equipment to be picked against the capacity of the forklift? Yes No N/A
6. Is the pallet in good condition to ensure safe loading and unloading? Yes No N/A
7. Is the pathway of the forklift clear of any obstacles on the ground and overhead? Yes No N/A

Who is allowed to operate a forklift?

OSHA requires that only certified personnel are allowed to drive a forklift. Forklift drivers are required to be 18 years or older.

Can you give someone a ride on a forklift?

Anyone riding in a forklift is required to have certification. This means you can not give rides to anyone who is not certified to also drive a forklift.

How can you be safe when working around forklifts?

Forklift drivers have limited visibility. This means any pedestrians in the vicinity need to be trained on how to safely work around forklifts. This can include:

  • Giving space to forklift drivers
  • Maintaining eye contact with the forklift driver if it’s required that you walk around a forklift
  • Never standing near a forklift load
  • Looking both ways before stepping out of an aisle, around a corner, or into a pathway
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings—and as always, ensure all employees receive regular safety training.

    Why are forklifts dangerous?

    Forklifts are heavy vehicles that can easily tip over if loaded or operated unwisely. A forklift driver also has limited visibility when using the forklift, making it easier to collide with people or objects and cause injuries.

    In 2007, OSHA reported 85 deaths and 34,900 serious injuries caused by forklift accidents. Forklifts that tip over and crush the driver cause 42% of forklift-related deaths.

    What are the seven types of forklifts?

    OSHA outlines seven primary types of forklifts:

  • 1. Electric motor rider trucks
  • 2. Electric motor narrow aisle trucks
  • 3. Electric motor hand trucks or hand/rider trucks
  • 4. Internal combustion engine trucks (solid/cushion tires)
  • 5. Internal combustion engine trucks (pneumatic tires)
  • 6. Electric and internal combustion engine tractors
  • 7. Rough terrain forklift trucks
  • A forklift operator must be aware of the type of forklift and attachment to safely operate the truck.

    Why should you read a forklift’s nameplate?

    A forklift nameplate, also known as a data plate, weight plate, or capacity load plate, provides information on:

  • Weight capacity
  • Fuel type
  • Truck weight
  • Attachments
  • Equipment parts
  • Understanding weight capacity is imperative to safely operating any forklift.

    Additional details (like tire size) are provided for vehicle servicing.

    While nameplates are initially created by the manufacturer, it is the operator’s job to ensure information is up-to-date and legible.

    Nameplates are located on the instrument panel, near the operating controls.

    How do you calculate a forklift’s maximum capacity?

    Nameplates include information on mast types, attachments, weight, and maximum back and forward tilt. All of these factors change a forklift’s lifting capacity. Nameplates will provide examples of maximum capacity given different variables, but to calculate a custom capacity, it’s recommended that you use a capacity calculator.

    How can you use visual communication to improve safety?

    Develop a visual safety standard that everyone on the jobsite knows and understands. This can include:

  • Safety signs in any areas pedestrians and forklifts may share
  • Yellow floor markings to indicate caution
  • Red floor markings to indicate fire hazards, emergency switches, and buttons on hazardous machines
  • Signs that direct traffic, including speed limits, arrows directing traffic, and stop signs
  • Properly marking work areas can greatly improve safety by eliminating confusion
  • What other resources can help improve my jobsite safety?

    Leverage digital construction safety checklists to ensure proper protocols are being followed (and documented).

    Conducting regular safety trainibngs with toolbox talks helps streamline the presentation of safety topics to your crews. They also allow anyone to ask questions or address any concerns they have. To save time and effort in finding and completeing safety talks, invest in a digital solution that includes sign-in sheets. That way, you’ll collect clean, documented proof in the case of litigation, disputes, or claims. Raken has a digital library full of toolbox talks ready for you to use.

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