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5 Tips for Complying with OSHA’s Forklift Inspection Requirements

- August 30, 2019 by Terio Duran (View all posts by Terio)

If your company uses forklifts, you know what a hassle it can be to document forklift inspections. Worse yet is not understanding what OSHA’s requirements are for carrying out and documenting inspections. Do we really need to document every forklift inspection that we conduct? Below you will find 5 tips that will help you comply with OSHA’s forklift inspection requirements.

How often do I have to inspect my forklifts?
OSHA’s forklift standard 29 CFR 1910.178 requires daily pre-operational and operational inspections before placing forklifts into service. This means that the operator should conduct a pre-start visual inspection with the forklift engine OFF and then conduct an operational check with the forklift engine ON.

Do I need to document every forklift inspection that my operator conducts?
Documenting your inspections is a good practice but not technically required by OSHA. OSHA requires that you “conduct” an inspection. They do not mention anything about documentation. However, using a pre-operational checklist makes it easier for operators to understand what potential issues they need to look for, and it encourages them to operate their forklifts safely. Additionally, documentation will provide proof of your daily inspections in the event of an OSHA visit. Rule of thumb, always have your operators complete a forklift inspection checklist whenever they discover a maintenance issue. Be sure to immediately take the forklift out of service, follow up on and document your corrective action(s) as well!  If you decide not to complete a form each time, make sure to document that you trained the operator of your requirement to inspect before each use.  This documentation would be helpful should OSHA start asking questions.

What if I operate my forklift once or twice a month, do I still need to conduct a daily inspection?
If your forklift is non-operational and not used every day, you would not need to inspect until just before it’s placed into service. However, leaving your forklift non-operational for long periods of time could result in other mechanical problems. Be sure to reference or contact the manufacturer in these types of situations.

Where can I find a pre-operational forklift inspection checklists?
Click on the following link Forklift Inspection Forms to download free printable copies of inspection checklists from the OSHA website.

Click on the following link Checklist Caddy for a company that offers a convenient checklist product that can be easily mounted on your forklift.

Click on the following link iAuditor Forklift App for more information on a smartphone-based app that can be used to conduct your forklift inspections.

Remember to customize your forklift inspection checklists to your specific forklift e.g., electric, internal combustion, narrow aisle, stand up, etc. Every forklift has different features, limitations, and specifications. Make sure you refer to your operator’s manual and include any vital manufacture safety specifications in your checklist.

How long do I have to keep my forklift inspection records?
Based on an OSHA interpretation letter dated 2/7/2000 OSHA states it would be the employer’s discretion to determine the duration of powered industrial truck examination record retention. However, you may want to error on the side of caution and retain forklift inspection records for a more extended period of time in the event of a future OSHA inspection. Generally speaking 3 to 5 year OSHA document retention is a good best practice.

 
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