How to Create a Pre-Shift Inspection Form

Posted by: admin on June 29, 2017

Pre-Shift Inspection

The pre-shift equipment inspection is a key component to workplace safety and ensuring the equipment your business uses on a regular basis is up-to-date and fit for employees to operate. To make this daily process easier and more efficient for your workers, create a systemized pre-shift inspection form that guides operators through all the important steps.


Follow OSHA’s Requirements for a Pre-Shift Inspection

As the governing administration for safety in the workplace and helping to minimize work-related accidents, OSHA has a set of requirements that every employer must follow for forklift inspections before shifts.

Specifically, OSHA requires that all forklifts must be inspected every day, before work can begin each shift. If forklifts are used every day throughout the day, they must be inspected after each shift.

Additionally, OSHA recommends conducting a visual pre-shift inspection with the engine off, and then an operational examination with the engine on. Both of these inspections together will give the operator a good, reliable understanding of any repairs or adjustments that need to be made to make the forklift safe for use. Use the following information when inspecting your forklifts, and include the information specific to the type of forklift being used.

What to Check for During the Engine Off Pre-Shift Inspection

Before a new shift can begin with a forklift, the trained operator must complete a visual check with the engine turned off. They must look for the following items before moving onto the engine running examination.

  • Fluid Levels, including the water, oil, and hydraulic fluid
  • Leaks, cracks, or visible defects, which should include the hydraulic hoses and mast chains
  • Tires for pressure and the presence of any cuts or punctures
  • The extension of the load backrest
  • Finger guards
  • The readability of the on-board manual and instructions
  • The condition of the operator compartment, checking for oil and debris
  • The proper functioning of all safety devices, including the seat belt

The following should be inspected depending on the type of forklift being used.

Electric Forklifts:

  • Cables and connectors, checking for exposed or frayed wires
  • Restraints of the battery
  • Electrolyte fluid levels
  • Hood latch

Internal Combustion Forklifts, Gas/LPG/Diesel: 

  • Engine oil
  • Brake reservoir
  • Engine coolant
  • Air filtration system
  • Belts and hoses
  • Radiator
  • Hood latch

Liquid Propane Forklifts:

  • Position of the tank
  • Pressure relief valve that points up
  • Hose and connectors
  • Tank restraint brackets
  • Condition of the tank, checking for dents and cracks
  • Proper fitting of the tank, within profile of the forklift
  • Leaks

What to Check for During the Engine On Operational Inspection

Once the pre-shift visual inspection is complete with the engine off, operators should perform a second examination with the engine running, to check for the following.

  • Accelerator linkage
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Forward and reverse controls
  • Lifting and lowering controls
  • Attachment control
  • Horn
  • Lights
  • Hour meter
  • Back-up alarm, if applicable
  • Inch control, if applicable

For a complete checklist that includes both the pre-shift engine off and operational engine on inspections, print and use OSHA’s document in your workplace.

Safety Begins with Trained Operators

According to OSHA, only trained and evaluated operators can perform these inspections, and only trained operators can drive forklifts. To train and certify your operators with OSHA-compliant forklift certification, go to


Follow step-by-step instructions to get OSHA compliant!

This low-cost program can be completed anytime, anywhere!

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