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Forklift Daily Checklist; Pre-Operational And Operational Checklist

Filed under: Forklift Operators - Safety & Guides, Safety

UPDATE: We’ve created a free forklift safety and prestart checklist that you can download and use however you like. We hope you like it.

How important is a daily forklift inspection? When you operate a forklift you are taking responsibility for machinery that has the potential to cause accidents, injury or even death if it is not maintained correctly and kept in a serviceable condition.

There are pre-operational and operational checks you can do before and after starting the forklift; that will only take a few minutes to ensure your safety, the safety of the people around you and the safety of your forklift.

forklift pre-start safety checklist

Before Starting The Forklift

Before operating any forklift it is necessary to perform pre-operational checks to identify damage, prevent accidents and to ensure the forklift is safe to use. You might have multiple employees using a single forklift within your workplace, so it is important that you familiarise yourself with the new forklift or just ensure the forklift is up to scratch since the last use.

Visual checks:

  • Tyres (check for wear, splitting and pressures)
  • Condition of the lights and lenses
  • Condition of the gauges
  • Obvious signs of damage to the body and overhead guards
  • Obvious signs of damage to the mast, lifting assembly and attachments
  • Forklift tynes and backrest for cracks and fractures
  • Hydraulic hose, unions, cylinders for leaks or damage
  • Underneath the forklift for fuel or oil leaks

Physical checks:


  • LPG bottle for leaks and security
  • Battery connections
  • Security of the fitting of attachments
  • Thickness and condition of the tynes

Check of liquid Levels:

  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Engine oil coolant
  • Battery
  • Fuel

Some important points you need to take extra care with are:

  • Checking the data plate for capacities (safe working load)
  • Load center
  • Mast full height (MFH)

After Starting The Forklift 

Once you have completed the initial check (Before Starting The Forklift) you’re not done just yet. It’s extremely important to go through a few safety tests when initially starting your forklift, as you would rather find out the faults and problems prior putting the forklift to use.


Ensure you check the:

  • Hand brake
  • Transmission – forward and reverse positive movement
  • Brakes and inching pedal
  • Full range of steering movement
  • Lift control, tilt control and side shift if fitted
  • Additional devices fitted
  • Horn, flashing lights, headlamps, indicator, reversing lights and beeper
  • Instruments are working correctly

Safety should always be your number one priority within the workplace. Can you think of any other pre-operational or operational checks to carry out?


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thank you l find this blog very useful and very simple to understand

sidy sandy
May 14, 2014 - 9:58 pm

we have forklift operators that may in a given day operate multiple lifts.
What are the requirements for the daily inspection?
Do all operators need to inspect all the lifts that they operate?

December 03, 2014 - 10:55 am

Hi Rene,

As long as each piece of equipment is inspected at least once daily, or per shift if you do shift work, that should be enough. It also helps to keep records of these daily checks, in case there are any accidents at work, so you have records on file.

AAL Admin
December 05, 2014 - 11:29 am

    very good source of information helped me understand basic understanding of visual pre-start up check’s with forklifts.

mark worland
June 10, 2015 - 5:40 pm

We have a forklift that is used only about 4 hrs per week. I’m wondering if the “daily check” is a legal minimum requirement or could it be based on the level of risk (i.e. fortnightly in this case)?                   

August 17, 2015 - 10:06 am

So multiple riders between forklifts on shift work do not each need to fill out the log as long as the forklifts are inspected and documented at the beginning of each shift.  Is this the common practice by OSHA?                   

Dave K.
September 12, 2015 - 1:31 am

Nice work!

Bailey Coppage
September 13, 2016 - 9:35 pm

        Who should be doing the forklift checks                
                      Because where I work they use the unlicensed apprentice to do the pre-operational checks

June 22, 2017 - 8:12 am

Hi Rick, forklift inspections should always be carried out by a licensed and qualified technician or operator.                       

July 07, 2017 - 10:53 am

  Is there a legislated minimum length of time that completed pre operational checklists should be stored in case of an accident?                     

September 08, 2017 - 2:09 pm

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