The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines require all powered industrial trucks be inspected daily, prior to use to ensure they are in safe operating condition. Yes, this includes all your lift equipment. Your forklifts, telehandlers, skid steers or boom lifts along with any other powered vehicle on your jobsite. A properly performed pre-shift inspection prevents poor equipment performance. When equipment is in use around the clock, operators must inspect their equipment at the beginning of every shift. Equipment that is constantly in use can present new mechanical issues from one shift to the next. Potential safety hazards or equipment failures can be found and addressed when performing a pre-shift inspection. Only on equipment that is not used daily is an inspection rate of 3 to 4 times a week considered sufficient.


OSHA regulations state that all equipment inspection records should be kept for a minimum of one year. When issues arise, it is often helpful to have historical records that can help us to understand where the concern began. An inspection checklist can be used to ensure nothing is overlooked. Once the visual check has been completed, operators should conduct an operational inspection while the engine is running, including all functions of the equipment being inspected. Completing a pre-shift inspection is certainly the most effective way to ensure that you are using equipment that is both safe and ready for the task at hand.


  • The general condition of the equipment and its cleanliness.
  • The floor is clean, meaning it is free of debris, and anything that could cause accidents.
  • There are no overhead obstructions that can get in the way of safe operation.
  • The fire extinguisher is accessible and is not expired.
  • Check the levels of engine oil, fuel, and radiator fluid. (If applicable to equipment type)
  • Check the tank mounting system, fuel tank position pin, propane relief valves and hose condition, for propane forklifts.
  • Ensure the battery is fully charged, there are no exposed wires, plug connections are not loose, and vent caps are not clogged, for battery-powered forklifts.
  • Verify that all bolts, nuts, guards, chains, or hydraulic hose reels are not damaged, missing, or loose.
  • Ensure that forks are even and not bent, there are no cracks present, the positioning latches are in good working condition, and the carriage teeth are not broken or chipped.
  • Make sure that the chain anchor pins are not worn, loose, or bent.
  • Be sure there are no fluid leaks.
  • Secure the hydraulic hoses.
  • Remove any grease or debris in the operator compartment.
  • Test seatbelts or restraints are working properly.
  • Confirm that Seat locks are in position.
  • If there is an overhead guard, check that it is secure and has no damaged areas.
  • Ensure that all other guards are in good working condition.
Operator equipment inspection OT Reliable Forklift Sales


When a defect has been detected, an operator has the responsibility to report the defect at once and the affected equipment should not be used until it has been repaired. If you are unsure what qualifies as a defect or maintenance requirement that can affect the safe operation of the machine, reach out to your safety supervisor, or contact our team of highly trained technicians. The best way to ensure that your equipment is safe and in top operating condition is to take care of any repair and maintenance concerns at once.


If your operators are not sure how to properly perform a pre-shift inspection, we can help. We currently offer free pre-shift inspection courses for MEWP’s, telehandlers, skid steers, and forklifts! These free pre-shift inspection courses will review the importance of pre-shift inspections, as well as everything that needs to be done to ensure the equipment is ready for safe operation. Click on one of the links below to get started today! 

online training reliable forklift sales

Our experienced instructors are available for on-location training course, offering certification for forklift (counterbalance), telehandlers, MEWP’s as well as skid loaders. Check out the training calendar to find out what applicable courses are available in your area.

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