Violations of OSHA's forklift standard, 1910.178, Powered Industrial Trucks, remain the top citations for lumber dealers. While most of these violations involve operator training requirements, the second most commonly cited forklift violation involves truck maintenance. Here we take a look at the pre-operational (pre-start) and operational inspections required by the standard.
Industrial trucks shall be examined before being placed into service, and shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Such examination shall be made at least daily. 1910.178(q)(7).
OSHA provides some additional guidance on pre-start and operational inspections. Before starting the vehicle, a pre-start inspection must be conducted that checks a variety of items, such as fluid levels, leaks, cracks or other visible defects of hydraulic hoses and mast chains, tire conditions, and all safety devices, including seat belt. After completing the pre-start inspection, an operational inspection should be conducted with the engine running. This inspection includes brakes, steering, drive control, tilt control and hoist and lowering control. Both of these inspections must be conducted before the vehicle is put into operation.
OSHA has indicated through requested interpretations that these examinations are not required to be made in writing, such as checklists, or documented; however, such checklists and documentation can be required by the employer. OSHA notes that the employer is responsible for ensuring that the truck is properly inspected.
For more detail, please see NLBMDA's Forklifts: Pre-Operational & Operational Inspections (NLBMDA Safety Series, May 20, 2017), posted on NLBMDA's Environment, Health & Safety Resource Center.