Developing Your Forklift Inspection Safety Checklist

Too often, routine tasks are shrugged off for more pressing matters.

Worker Driver At Warehouse Forklift Loader Works 121681970 4043x2646 (1)

Forklifts play an essential role. Their ability to quickly and safely move heavy loads allows workers to get tasks done as efficiently as possible. So long as OSHA forklift regulations are followed, these incredible machines make excellent additions to any site. Too often, though, safety best practices are glossed over, causing dangerous accidents in the workplace.

Thankfully, there are proactive measures workers can take to stay safe on the job. An OSHA forklift checklist can help ensure that safety best practices are followed and any potential hazards are identified in advance. A little effort at the start can go a long way to protect workers and their materials.

Too often routine tasks are shrugged off for more pressing matters. A quality safety checklist ensures workers don’t forget about tiny details that could spiral into large issues if left unattended.

Safety checklists also help keep expensive equipment repairs to a minimum. By performing daily inspections of your equipment, you’ll be able to monitor issues as they develop. With a keen eye on minor problems, workers can prioritize preventative maintenance and sound the alarm about other issues before they balloon into a serious crisis. It’s not just a good idea to perform these daily equipment inspections, either – OSHA actually requires them by law.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has a number of forklift regulations in place to help keep workers safe. By law, employers are required to provide forklift training and certification opportunities to their workers. Forklift operators are not allowed to get behind the wheel of a lift before they’ve been properly trained, and violating this rule can result in fines totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Crafting a Thorough OSHA Forklift Inspection Checklist

There are several steps that forklift operators must take in order to stay safe and in compliance with OSHA regulations. While forklift inspection checklists may vary, all versions should include the following questions:

  • Are workers adequately trained to use the type of truck they operate?
  • Are trained employees the only people permitted to operate industrial vehicles?
  • Has overhead protective equipment been provided for those using high lift rider equipment?
  • Are lift truck operating rules clearly posted and enforced?
  • Does each industrial truck have directional lighting?
  • Are industrial trucks equipped with warning horns, gongs, or whistles that can be heard above the normal noise in the area of operation?
  • Are brakes on each truck able to bring the vehicle to a safe, complete stop when fully loaded?
  • Can the parking brake of the industrial truck stop the vehicle from moving while unattended?
  • Can industrial trucks operate where vapors, combustible dust, flammable gasses, or ignitable fibers are present?
  • Can motorized hand and hand/rider trucks be stopped using brakes?
  • Are industrial trucks with internal combustion engines being used in enclosed spaces? If so, how will exposure to dangerous gasses or fumes be avoided?
  • Can workers maintain a safe distance from the edge of elevated platforms and ramps?
  • May employees stand or pass under the elevated portions of trucks, either empty or loaded?
  • Are unauthorized employees allowed to ride on trucks?
  • Are operators permitted to drive up to anyone standing in front of a fixed object?
  • Are arms and legs kept inside the vehicle?
  • Are loads within the rated capacity of the vehicle?
  • Are vehicles in need of repair removed from service?

While a forklift inspection safety checklist can do wonders to keep workers safe, they’re only helpful if employees are adequately trained. Novice workers can be equipped with the most extensive checklist imaginable, but if they don’t understand the tools, techniques, and industry best practices behind the list, accidents may still occur.

Learning to use a loading ramp, for instance, is useless if the person training doesn’t have a good grasp on how to operate industrial equipment. The solution? Enroll all workers in forklift certification training before they ever have the chance to operate such equipment. Along with a well designed forklift inspection safety checklist, training can help keep workers safe and efficient for years to come.

Tom Wilkerson is the President and CEO of,,, and

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