Forklift operations are essential to the function of a successful warehouse and they must be regulated by readiness standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an extension of the U.S. Department of Labor and is in charge of forklift oversight.
Prior to using a forklift OSHA requires a prestart visual inspection of all operational components. Fluid levels must be checked and tires must be assessed for proper pressure. The fork itself must be checked for damage --- especially the top clip retaining pin and heel --- and if a user or inspector notices any visible cracks, leaks or damage to hoses, mast chains or engine corrosion, forklifts must not be operated until the problems are fixed.
If the forklift is visibly safe, operational inspections must be undertaken. According to the OSHA website, an operational inspection requires users to start the engine and inspect brake handling, steering control and hoist and lowering control. Horns and lights must also be checked and if a back-up alarm exists that, too, must be inspected for proper working order. Any odd noises, vibrations or movements should be noted to supervisors right away.
Maintenance is required to be scheduled on a regular basis to keep forklifts in top condition. Potential hazards include forklift grinding, engine malfunction or harm to users or fellow employees. Fluid levels must be properly maintained and repairs must be fixed immediately. If a forklift ever presents problems with overheating, fire or other mechanical disruptions OSHA requires that vehicle be removed from operation until it can be fully and safely serviced.
- forklift image by Goran Bogicevic from Fotolia.com