OSHA has guidelines about what should be included on a forklift safety checklist. The question is does your list fully meet all of OSHA’s expectations?
The problem with some of OSHA’s safety regulations is that they can be misinterpreted. For example, OSHA requires safety inspections for fleet vehicles in your facility, but documentation is not technically required — at least not until an accident occurs or your business undergoes a safety audit.
Translation? OSHA does require safety checklist documentation, just not until OSHA inspectors begin an investigation or are asking questions. That is an inopportune time to discover that the documentation they demand is missing and your facility will face subsequent fines.
Why does OSHA care about a checklist? Each year, forklifts are the cause of thousands of serious injuries and dozens of deaths in the U.S. So, completing a safety checklist and documenting its successful completion is vital to warehouse safety. But you must be sure you have a comprehensive list.
Crafting your safety checklist
Different types of forklifts or industrial trucks require different safety checklists tailored to fit their capacities and uses.
OSHA standards required for safety:
- Consult the manufacturer’s instructions on vehicle maintenance, and conduct safety and operational checks (prior to each shift). Include all critical and non-critical failures by operator and vehicle.
- Personalized safety checklists are ideal because they will fit the unique demands and risks within your facility. Lift-truck manufacturers can provide daily checklists specific for each type of forklift.
- Vehicles shouldn’t be operated if they fail an inspection. Automated safety checklists provide documented proof that safety checks were conducted, and the software will even lock out vehicles from use if they fail inspection.
- Out-of-service forklifts should have documented information, filling gaps in operation history should an audit occur.
- Proof that operators are certified and prepared for the job is a requirement. All forklift operators must be authorized and properly trained in safe operation.
- Include all critical and non-critical failures by operator and vehicle in the checklist.
Safety checklists are required by OSHA and can be uniquely tailored to your business to protect operators, prevent injuries, and reduce forklift downtime. Lists can be automated for ease and documentation purposes. Questions can be customized to include all safety and operational checks that OSHA would look for following an accident or during an audit.
Telematic safety solutions let your enterprise get the most out of its safety checklists. They make successful completion of each checklist a requirement for vehicles to operate. And the right solution can document everything you need (and OSHA requires) to save time, money, and injury to your workforce.