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Standard Pre-Shift Forklift Inspection

What are the standard steps taken during a pre-shift forklift inspection?

  1. Visual inspection
  2. Field inspection
  3. Operational inspection


Daily inspection is required for every forklift in the Philippines. This will help ensure that your forklift is free from any kind of damage and hazardous complications. Keep in mind that you need to be very delicate for material handling jobs. The items that you carry may not be particularly fully-secured. Rather, they’re clumped up in order to be as easy to carry as possible—most likely on pallets.

The use of industrial trucks makes jobs a lot easier, however, it also poses a serious risk especially when the machine isn’t well maintained. Every material handling professional should know that to ensure the safe use of forklifts, you have to inspect it daily for defects and signs of damage. That way you can always ensure that it’s in good working condition for any task!

Here’s a short, practical guide that lists standard pre-shift inspections that all forklifts need to undergo!


Visual Inspection

Visual Inspection

The first thing you need to do is visually check the forklift. Make sure that it looks clean and in top condition. A forklift that looks good would typically be free of any kind of aberration unless the problem is within the system.

Take a look at the liquid levels. Make sure that the oil, fuel, and radiator levels are at full or at least decent levels. Keep in mind that when any of these three is within critical levels, it would be best for you to refill it in order to prevent any kind of internal damage or sudden stops.

The battery should always be fully charged during pre-inspection. Take note of and organize any exposed wires. Ensure that the plug connections are not loose, worn, or dirty. Keep in mind the electrolyte levels in the cells and make sure it’s in a good spot.

Scan the machine for all the nuts, bolts, chains, guards, and hydraulic hose reels. Make sure none of them are missing, loose, or damaged; if there are any, you have to fix them before the forklift can be used.

Look at the wheels and tires. Make sure that they are in good working condition. Check them out for any wear-and-tear or damage. You should also check if it has adequate air pressure (if it has pneumatic tires).

Inspect the forks of the machine. Ensure that the forks don’t have any abnormalities such as signs of bending and cracks. Take note of the condition of the positioning latches and the carriage teeth as well. Make it a point that they do not show signs of too much stress. Fix or replace any part that is below acceptable working condition.

Make sure the horns are working and loud enough to be heard. Check the warning devices if they’re operational. Seatbelts and restraints should be working properly and no visible wear or damage should be found.


Field Inspection

Before continuing to the operational inspection, you must first guarantee a relatively safe working environment, and that can be done by following the stated steps:

Clear the floor of any unnecessary items. Make sure that the floor is as clean as possible to prevent the forklift from running over valuable objects. The fewer objects present, the less risk there is for accidents to happen.

Some work areas have a relatively low ceiling. Therefore, you should ensure that there are no overhead obstructions that can prove an obstacle for the forklift.


Operational Inspection

Operational Inspection

This inspection revolves around an operator testing out every function of a forklift. Keep in mind that forklifts in the Philippines, particularly Clark forklifts are very advanced and equipped with the latest of technology. That being said, this operational inspection checklist only shows the bare essentials. Always remember to read the manual for more information regarding your forklift.

One of the most important parts of any vehicle is the brake system. There are three basic brakes in every forklift. First off, the pedal for the foot brake should be relatively smooth. When it holds, the unit should stop smoothly. The parking brake should be strong enough to hold against slight acceleration.

Ensure that the clutch enables smooth shifting without any jumping or jerking. A smooth ride will always be the ideal condition for any forklift operator

Steering needs to be easy and receptive. Any signs of roughness in steering should warrant further inspection of the system.

The dash control panel, though very different in a variety of forklifts should always be operational. Make sure that all of its lights and gauges are working properly!

The mechanism that lifts and tilts the forks should operate smoothly. Always extend the lift mechanism to the maximum when inspecting. The same goes for the tilt mechanism. Check it by tilting it all the way forward and backward.

While you do the operational inspection, listen for any unusual sounds and noises and check if the cylinders and hoses started leaking after all the listed checking procedures. Lastly, try out whether the headlights and warning lights are operational.

Take note of and report all the abnormalities that you have identified to your supervisor immediately.


Key Takeaway

Material handling work is no easy task. That’s why forklifts are so useful in a variety of situations. They are specialized in carrying and delivering products from one place to another. Since it’s doing the majority of the handling, you should consistently ensure that it’s always in good working condition. Make sure to keep in mind this list of necessary steps when inspecting your forklift!

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