A 7 step Guide for Pre-Use Inspection on Forktrucks
A crucial element of safe forklift truck operation is the completion of proper pre-use inspections.
According to the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE), over 18% of lift truck incidents occur as a result of mechanical failure, which could be avoided by a pre-use inspection. During the International Operator of the Year 2016 testing stage, data showed that 65% of operators tested did not know how to complete a pre-use check correctly.
As a manager or supervisor of operations, it is your duty and responsibility to ensure that all of your workers are fully aware of what they have to do when undertaking a proper pre-use inspection.
The RTITB has released 7 key considerations for you to look out for.
1. Keep it simple
The point of pre-use inspections is to identify small problems and stop them from becoming bigger. Counterbalance lift truck drivers should not be expected to be forklift truck engineers, but instead should simply know how to check the general working parts of the truck for signs of damage or wear. This allows any potential issues to be reported so that they can be dealt with by an expert, and helps prevent trucks from becoming unsafe or needing to be removed from service completely.
2. Check every time
Even if a lift truck has already been checked, a pre-use inspection should still be undertaken before the next driver wants to use it. Something could have happened to the truck to damage it or make it unsafe while it has been in use, and unless it is checked every time, this will be missed. Training on how to use powered access safely and effectively is essential in this industry, and companies should assess how frequently checks take place and ensure that operators know that it is their responsibility to complete them.
3. Understand the law
Counterbalance lift truck operators may not realise that by failing to carry out a pre-use inspection they may be breaking the law by failing in their duty of care to themselves and to others. Staff members need to be trained to industry standard to ensure this is avoided at all costs.
4. Be specific
Not every truck is the same and companies with several different types of truck may be tempted to use a generic pre-use inspection check sheet for all vehicles. To ensure safety, a specific pre-use sheet should be used for every type of truck and cover all the major parts that should be checked. For example, an operator using a diesel truck will need to check a different starting procedure than those using an electric counterbalance truck.
5. Manage and supervise
Every manager should have an understanding of their responsibilities when it comes to health and safety. It is vitally important that they ensure that pre-use checks are carried out correctly, and supervisors and managers understand pre-use checks themselves in order to assess whether the correct procedures are being followed.
6. Provide training
Although pre-use inspections are covered in counterbalance lift truck operator training, a recent RTITB test showed that this is the area in which drivers are performing most poorly. With industry rules and regulations constantly changing, ensuring your staff members are all up to date on health and safety when operating forklift machinery is vital.
7. Stay safe
Sometimes with so much to consider, operators can forget fundamental safety principles when conducting a pre-use inspection, particularly not wearing personal protective equipment. Operators should ensure they remember their basic skills and operate safely, even when doing a pre-use check.
We run a number of training courses to promote the importance of safety in the workplace. Our IPAF Training provides information on how to use powered access safely and effectively, and runs from our training centre in Nottingham to any location in the UK. Our PASMA training course is the lead trade association for the mobile access tower industry, providing and overseeing the industry standard training scheme. We are now also pleased to be offering CSCS training at our training centre, to ensure that your team is kept up to date on health and safety in the workplace.