The Importance of Pre-Operational Checks on Forklift Trucks

5 April 2024

Forklift trucks are indispensable tools in various industries, facilitating the movement of heavy loads with ease and efficiency. However, their operation poses inherent risks, both to the operators and the surrounding environment. To mitigate these risks and ensure a safe working environment, performing thorough pre-operational checks on forklift trucks is paramount. These checks not only enhance safety but also prolong the lifespan of the equipment, leading to increased productivity and cost savings for businesses.

Pre-Operational Checks

Pre-operational checks are systematic inspections conducted before using a forklift truck. They involve assessing various components of the vehicle to ensure that it is in optimal working condition. While the specifics of these checks may vary depending on the type and model of the forklift, they typically encompass critical areas such as the engine, brakes, steering, tires, hydraulics, lights, and safety features.

Importance of Pre-Operational Checks

Safety: The primary objective of pre-operational checks is to identify and rectify any potential safety hazards before they escalate into accidents. Regular inspection of vital components such as brakes and steering mechanisms can prevent malfunctioning during operation, reducing the risk of collisions and injuries.

Compliance: Compliance with safety regulations and standards is mandatory in most jurisdictions. Conducting pre-operational checks demonstrates a commitment to adhering to these regulations, protecting both employees and employers from legal repercussions.

Equipment Reliability: Forklift trucks are subjected to rigorous operational demands, which can lead to wear and tear over time. Pre-operational checks help detect minor issues early on, allowing for timely repairs and maintenance. This proactive approach enhances the reliability of the equipment, minimizing downtime and optimizing productivity.

Cost Savings: Addressing maintenance issues promptly can prevent major breakdowns that require extensive repairs or replacements. By identifying and resolving issues during pre-operational checks, businesses can avoid costly repairs, replacement parts, and potential fines resulting from non-compliance.

Longevity of Equipment: Regular inspections and maintenance prolong the lifespan of forklift trucks. Well-maintained equipment operates more efficiently and experiences less wear and tear, resulting in extended service life and reduced capital expenditure for replacements.

Performing Pre-Operational Checks

Conducting pre-operational checks on forklift trucks should be a standardized practice integrated into daily operations. Here’s a general guideline for performing these checks:

Visual Inspection: Begin by visually inspecting the forklift for any obvious signs of damage, leaks, or loose components.

Tires: Inspect the condition of tires, ensuring they are free from any damage.

Controls: Test the functionality of controls, including the steering wheel, brakes, accelerator, and lifting mechanisms.

Lights and Signals: Verify that all lights, indicators, and alarms are working correctly, enhancing visibility and warning signals.

Safety Features: Test safety features such as seat belts, horns, and emergency brakes to ensure they are operational.

Operator fitness: Ensure that the operator is fit to operate, did not consume alcohol even hours before starting the shift and holds a valid licence

Documentation: Keep comprehensive records of pre-operational checks, including dates, findings, and actions taken. This documentation serves as evidence of compliance and facilitates traceability in the event of audits or inspections.

Pre-operational checks are indispensable procedures that contribute to the safe and efficient operation of forklift trucks. By prioritizing safety, compliance, and equipment reliability, businesses can mitigate risks, optimize productivity, and safeguard their workforce. Implementing a robust pre-operational inspection regimen not only fosters a culture of safety but also fosters operational excellence and long-term sustainability in the workplace.

With the update launching in Q2/2024, Fingerprint Access 4/SA devices will provide the option of implementing up to 10 customizable pre-operational questions. Based on the answers given, the machine will allow access or remain deactivated. All answers are stored along with the usage history, which can be accessed via smartphone directly from the device or through the cloud.