Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Forklift Safety Checklist - Know the Basics

Posted by Brian Quigley, Director of Client Services on Jul 2, 2019 4:00:00 AM

A big sign of complacency in a warehouse is operators who regularly fail to complete safety checklists. These lists, which can be tailored to facility-specific safety challenges, are required by OSHA because they protect forklift operators, equipment, and foot traffic in a warehouse. Forklift-Truck_sm

Where is your greatest risk? Forklifts are probably one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment in your facility. Each year, serious injuries from forklifts total 34,900, and more than 61,000 less serious injuries occur. So, forklift safety should be a top concern of everyone across the enterprise.

How can you be certain your safety checklists cover your facility’s most pertinent concerns and also meet OSHA’s inspection requirements should an incident occur?

Here are the safety checklist basics. 

1. Customize your safety checklist to address your facility’s risk factors.

Accidents will happen, but as much as 70% are avoidable with the proper preventative measures in place. Safety checklists are an important step in preventative action.

For example, forklifts in poor operating condition can cause traffic issues. As forklifts age, their hazard increases due to mechanical issues. If maintenance is not completed on a regular basis, or repairs are not done quickly as needed, it can take a toll on the lift-truck. Over time the forklift becomes less efficient and is more prone to breakdowns, impacts, or driver injury.

Combat this by monitoring and knowing your fleet. Tailor checklists to fit the age of the vehicles, as well as what is required of the vehicle during any given shift — long hours, tight turns, slippery surfaces, or temperature changes. Include all safety and operational checks that OSHA would look for following an accident or during an audit.

2. Require every operator to complete a pre-shift inspection of their forklift.

A good telematics system will let you tailor inspection checklists to suit the unique needs of your business. These checklist capabilities let operators easily perform OSHA-required pre-shift inspections, identifying possible safety hazards — even the ones that are specific to your business.

This identifies:

  • If any condition exists that might adversely affect the safety of the truck or operator.
  • Mechanical issues or failures, so the forklift can be taken out of service (locked out) immediately for repair.

3. Lock out/tag out vehicles that lack completed inspections or have failed an inspection.

Successful, complete safety checklists should be mandatory for a vehicle to be operated. Forklift monitoring software can be used to prevent vehicle operation if the operator skips steps, the forklift has any mechanical issues, or the driver fails to complete safety protocol. 

Automated checklists document inspections, so managers know that essential features of the vehicle are inspected routinely and there is evidence of each inspection — which is required by OSHA in the event of an accident.

Telematics software can make this all easier to manage, providing advanced insight and easy-to-use, customizable safety checklist features. One-screen access facilitates instant information on:

  • Operator certifications – shows certifications about to expire or already expired
  • Checklist – shows operator and vehicle have completed the safety checklist and all critical and non-critical failures by operator and vehicle
  • Lockout – indicates which vehicles are out of service due to failed safety inspections

The use of automated safety checklists can prevent costly injuries and impacts within a facility. The right telematics software will let you customize your lists and drastically reduce the time managers must spend emphasizing and enforcing forklift safety protocol.

Topics: fleet management, equipment monitoring, TotalTrax Fleet Management Solutions, safety checklists, OSHA checklists, injuries, safety improvements, forklift operators