Important Checks To Make Before Operating A Forklift

Important Checks To Make Before Operating A Forklift

A forklift truck is a vital part of many workplaces, and as a result, will often see a lot of use over the course of a working day. This makes checking the machine’s condition even more important, given both the importance and potential dangers of operating a forklift.

This is also why an important early part of forklift training courses will have a lot to do with ascertaining the condition of the equipment itself, to ensure that both the driver and everyone else is safe.

According to the Health And Safety Executive, a thorough examination of lift trucks is required before they are used for the first time and if they are regularly in service.

As well as these regular examinations, it is vital that all operators know what to check before they start driving, so here are some vital checks to make before you start using your forklift for the day.


Gauges And Instruments

Different forklifts use different types of fluids, but it is vital to check at least the fuel (or electric charge) and oil levels of your forklift to ensure it can be operated safely.

If the former is too low it could cause the forklift to stop in an unsafe location, and too little oil could lead to catastrophic levels of friction which could break an engine very quickly.

As well as this, check the hydraulic fluid level of your forklift to ensure the lifting forks will work efficiently and effectively, as well as the radiator coolant level to ensure the vehicle does not overheat.



Large industrial workplaces have a variety of lighting conditions, so having lights that are bright enough and turn on as soon as you activate them is important.

The latter is especially important to warn people who are working near your forklift to be careful and get out of the way.



Sound the horn before you start work. It needs to be loud enough to warn pedestrians and other vehicle users nearby to get out of the way.


Wheels And Tyres

Check to ensure the wheels turn freely at the complete range they need to, are properly aligned and ensure that tyres are in good condition, are fully inflated and without any deep cuts or excessive wear. Your tyres are the only part of the truck that should be connected to the ground so they will provide grip and enable you to stop quickly in case of emergencies.



Brakes are the most vital part of the forklift, as an emergency stop needs to be immediate. Check the brakes and take note if there is any delay between activating the brake and the vehicle beginning to stop.


Restraint Devices
Ensure that all seatbelts and other restraints for heavy loads secure correctly with no visible wear or damage.


Safety Devices

Check the overhead guard, as well as other safety devices fitted to your forklift, to ensure that they can prevent serious injury.



Finally, the forks themselves need to be in perfect working order before the start of any shift. Check for any bends, cracks or signs of wear and tear in the forks themselves, as well as ensuring the carriage teeth and positioning latches are in perfect working order.