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OSHA Forklift Inspection Requirements: What You Need to Know

OSHA Forklift Inspection Requirements

Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Construction Digest

If you work with forklifts, you know that they play a critical role in various industries. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and ensure compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

One of the key aspects of forklift safety is regular inspections. In this article, we’ll delve into OSHA’s forklift inspection requirements to help you understand what’s needed to maintain a safe workplace.

Background on OSHA’s Forklift Inspection Requirements

Before we jump into the specifics, let’s take a moment to familiarize ourselves with OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a federal agency responsible for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for employees.

OSHA has established regulations that govern the operation and maintenance of forklifts to prevent accidents and protect workers. Compliance with these regulations is essential to prioritize safety and avoid penalties.

Pre-operation Forklift Inspection Checklist:

  1. Tires, Wheels, and Rims: Inspect the condition of the forklift’s tires, ensuring they are free from damage, excessive wear, or deflation. Check the wheels and rims for any cracks, bends, or missing components.
  2. Forks and Attachments: Carefully examine the forks and any attachments for signs of damage, such as cracks, bends, or excessive wear. Ensure they are securely attached to the forklift.
  3. Mast and Lifting Mechanism: Check the mast and lifting mechanism for any visible damage or leaks. Verify that the lifting chains, rollers, and hydraulic components are in good working order.
  4. Brakes, Lights, and Alarms: Test the brakes to ensure they are functioning correctly and capable of stopping the forklift efficiently. Check all lights and alarms, including headlights, brake lights, reverse lights, and audible warning devices.
  5. Steering and Controls: Inspect the steering system for smooth operation and responsiveness. Verify that all controls, such as levers, switches, and pedals, are functioning properly.
  6. Fluid Levels and Leaks: Check fluid levels, including engine oil, hydraulic fluid, and coolant, ensuring they are at the appropriate levels. Look for any signs of leaks, such as puddles or stains beneath the forklift.
  7. Battery and Charging System (for Electric Forklifts): Inspect the battery for any signs of damage, corrosion, or loose connections. Ensure that the charging system is functioning correctly.

Operational Forklift Inspection Checklist

During forklift operation, it’s crucial to keep a vigilant eye on certain aspects to ensure ongoing safety:

  1. Stability and Load Capacity: Monitor the stability of the forklift and its ability to handle the intended load. Be cautious when maneuvering on uneven surfaces or while carrying heavy loads.
  2. Safe Maneuvering and Turning: Ensure that the forklift is being operated safely, taking into account factors like speed, braking distance, and proper turning techniques. Always follow designated traffic patterns and signage.
  3. Adequate Visibility: Maintain clear visibility by keeping the windshield, mirrors, and any other visual aids clean and free from obstructions. Use caution when operating in areas with limited visibility.
  4. Proper Use of Safety Devices: Verify that all safety devices, such as seat belts, horns, and lights, are in good working condition and being used appropriately. Never bypass or disable safety features.

Scheduled Forklift Maintenance and Inspection

In addition to daily checks, scheduling routine maintenance and inspections is crucial for forklift longevity and safe operation. Here are a few recommended maintenance tasks:

  1. Engine and Hydraulic System Checks: Regularly inspect the engine, filters, and belts for any signs of wear or damage. Pay attention to the hydraulic system, ensuring there are no leaks or malfunctions.
  2. Filter Replacements: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacing filters, including air filters, fuel filters, and hydraulic filters. Clean or replace them as necessary to maintain optimal performance.
  3. Lubrication of Moving Parts: Keep moving parts well-lubricated to minimize friction and prevent excessive wear. Refer to the forklift’s manual for specific lubrication points and recommended lubricants.

Training and Certification Requirements

OSHA requires proper training and certification for forklift operators to ensure safe operation.

Employers are responsible for providing training programs that cover both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Certification must be renewed periodically, as determined by OSHA guidelines. Trained operators play a crucial role in maintaining a safe work environment.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with OSHA’s forklift inspection requirements can have serious consequences. Violations can result in penalties and fines, adversely affecting both finances and reputation.

More importantly, non-compliance puts employees at risk of accidents and injuries. It’s essential to prioritize forklift inspections and adhere to OSHA guidelines for the well-being of everyone in the workplace.


Understanding and adhering to OSHA’s forklift inspection requirements, you’re taking significant steps toward creating a safe working environment.

Regular pre-operation and operational inspections, along with scheduled maintenance and ongoing training, are vital for forklift safety and compliance.

Ensuring the well-being of operators and preventing accidents should always be a top priority. So, stay vigilant, follow the guidelines, and keep those forklifts in tip-top shape!

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