Forklift trucks are a common sight in warehouses and on construction sites, and provide a range of important jobs. Therefore, they need to be operated and maintained effectively to carry out these tasks and keep everyone safe. Forklift truck drivers should aim to maintain their vehicle by performing daily walkaround checks, inspecting both the interior and exterior of the forklift. Keeping forklift trucks safe and operational is essential when complying with certain regulations, but how can this be achieved?
In this guide, we will explore the various daily walkaround checks that need to be carried out on a forklift truck, whether a licence is needed to drive and check a forklift, and how key elements such as the battery and lights can be checked safely. We will also discuss the safety precautions that drivers need to adhere to, and how the AssetGo app can help you keep on top of your daily vehicle checks.
What daily checks do I need to carry out on my forklift truck, and why are they important?
Forklift trucks should be checked every day pre-use in order to remain compliant and safe, and to potentially lower any costs involved with major defects. These daily forklift truck checks include:
- Any defects identified from the previous day
- A visual inspection of the hydraulic systems and fluid levels
- Tyres, wheels and nuts
- The battery in electric forklifts; make sure that they are leak free and the charger is disconnected and stored away properly
- Cracks, faults and bends in the forks
- Service and parking brakes
- The interior of the cabin, including seatbelts
- Warning devices such as reversing alarms
Whilst daily checks themselves are not legally required, certain regulations are obligatory. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) deal with workplace equipment and require that all work mechanisms are properly maintained, and that forklift truck drivers should fully examine their vehicle.
These checks should be carried out daily, whereas regular servicing should take place every six and 12 months. If a defect is found during these daily checks, the driver should refrain from operating the forklift and remedy the issue as soon as possible.
To find out more about the importance of daily forklift truck checks, please read our previous guide here.
Do I need a licence to drive and check a forklift truck?
In the UK, you do not need a licence to drive a forklift truck, nor do you need one to carry out thorough daily checks. However, each driver must be trained to operate a forklift truck and know exactly what to look for when identifying defects. Drivers must also be at least 18 years old when driving in warehouses or at ports, they must have good vision and meet the general health requirements for a general driving licence.
Forklift truck drivers must be trained in risk assessment and be able to identify defects. This allows them to remain compliant and safe when operating their forklift truck. Pre-use safety inspections are highly advised, and forklift truck drivers must be capable of carrying them out effectively.
How to check your battery during a daily forklift truck check
Nowadays, the majority of businesses that use forklift trucks have opted for electric ones. If you utilise electric forklift trucks, you will need to check your battery as part of your daily walkaround checks. Before operating their forklift truck, drivers should check:
- The charge left in the battery, as it is common practice for forklifts to be charged when there is around 20% left
- Any leaks from the battery
- The charger is switched off, disconnected from the forklift and properly stored away
- The battery retention device is in place
The battery should be clean and free from debris, and the electrolyte levels should be topped up with distilled water if they are low. Drivers should also avoid ending a forklift’s charge too early as this can affect its longevity. Batteries should also be kept at a reasonable temperature that is not more than 45 degrees Celsius.
To discover how you can use the AssetGo app to report defects with your forklift truck battery, you can read our previous guide here. To enquire further about our digital vehicle checklists, you can request a free demo here.
How to check your lights during your daily walkaround check
Another important aspect of forklift truck daily checks is the inspection of the lights. Some forklifts can be driven on public roads, and therefore need to abide by regulations that apply to road vehicles regarding lights. They will need fully operational front and rear headlights, as well as a number plate light, indicators, hazard warning lights and brake lights.
Although forklifts primarily used in warehouses and on construction sites do not need to adhere as strictly to these regulations, they still need to be equipped with lights that keep them and other employees safe. All lights on the forklift truck will need to be inspected during a daily walkaround check. Any safety lights fitted for extra protection should also be checked.
Any lights that are considered defective should be reported to the relevant person within the company. If you are unsure as to whether a defect renders the vehicle unsafe, you should still refrain from driving the vehicle and get a second opinion. To find out more about checking forklift truck lights, please refer to our full guide here.
What safety precautions do I need to take when checking my forklift truck?
When carrying out your daily checks, you should take relevant safety precautions. For instance, before undertaking your inspection, you should ensure that your forklift truck is stationary with the parking brake secured. You should make sure the battery is charged, and take extra care when checking fluid levels to avoid spillage.
The forklift should also be turned off when checking the chains and forks to steer clear of serious accidents. As previously mentioned, drivers should be adequately trained to keep the chances of an accident low. The forklift should be routinely checked and maintained to avoid downtime and increase safety within the workplace.
Get in touch with AssetGo today
Traditional forklift truck daily reports can easily become misplaced or damaged, and may take longer to reach the relevant people within your company. All data from previous forklift truck daily checks are easily accessible on the AssetGo app, and future checks can be quickly reported to speed up the defect rectification process should any be found.
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