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Use A Forklift Checklist To Prevent Workplace Injury

Reduce onsite accidents of one of the most dangerous workplace vehicles: the forklift. Use a forklift inspection form to check for mechanical or safety failures before employees start the engine. Lumiform’s free, digital checklists let you do all this and more!

What Is a Forklift Checklist?

Forklifts are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment in a warehouse, accounting for 1 in 6 workplace deaths. According to OEA Safeguard, 84,000 workplace injuries occur as a result of improper forklift use, leading to an average of 84 deaths each year.

A forklift checklist is used as a reference point to ensure each mechanical component is in safe working order, and that a responsible operator doesn’t forget the sequence of steps before operations begin. Therefore, a forklift inspection form reduces the occupational risks to the works and ensures more efficient maintenance in the organization, factory, or warehouse where it is used. It’s also recommended to use a checklist for an inspection of a scissor lift.

We will now talk about the following topics:

1. 5 basic aspects of a forklift checklist

2. The dangers of using a forklift

3. A digital tool for creating your own forklift checklists

Orange forklift at rest next to a pallet of wood

5 Basic Aspects of a Forklift Checklist

1. Visual Checks

A basic visual inspection of the lifting equipment will be in order before starting the engine. This check includes all mechanical components as well as double-checking that additional safety measures are in place. It’s important to pay close attention to the following in order to prevent any avoidable accidents:

  • General condition
  • Forks
  • Carriage plate
  • Mast
  • Black rest extension
  • Lift chains
  • Tyres
  • Wheels
  • Overhead Guard
  • Energy source
  • Identification / number plate
  • Operator’s compartment
  • Access
  • Lights, windscreen and mirrors
  • Fire extinguisher

2. Working Environment

Ensuring the working environment is free from any potential hazards before operation begins will be key in protecting workers from any bodily harm. For example, these might include:

  • No evidence of leaks
  • No obstructions
  • Correct forklift type for working environment.

3. Operational Checks

Operational checks are in place to make sure the forklift’s mechanisms and safety components are all in good working condition. Failure of any of these doohickeys could lead to severe consequences, so before any of your employees start their engines, have them check these key components:

  • Seat
  • Safety belt
  • Ignition and electrical systems
  • Reversing alarm and horn
  • Warning lights and lights
  • Hydraulic controls
  • Brakes
  • Clutch and gearshift
  • Steering
  • Exhaust
  • Noise

4. Use on the Public Road

Sometimes it’s necessary to drive a forklift on a public road when transporting heavy loads from one site to the next. This is why a forklift will need the following in order to be roadworthy:

  • Forklift truck registered and number plate (front and rear) in place, clean, correct colour and working correctly.
  • Valid tax and insurance disc displayed.
  • Road lights in place, clean, correct colour and working correctly.

Worker using a forklift checklist to inspect a warehouse

Why Are Forklifts so Dangerous?

Think about how many people get into car accidents each year and their various causes: road obstructions, distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence, deers—and that’s only just brushing the surface of car accidents deep-rooted, origin stories. Is it really all that hard to imagine how dangerous a forklift could be when, although it may not go as fast, it’s bulkier, more awkward to maneuver, and carries heavier loads in an environment with a lot of moving parts?

These are the main reasons forklift driving poses a real threat to workers:

  • Forklifts are heavy, weighing three times the amount of your average car. Couple this factor with their speed, and you’re looking at a recipe for disaster if workers lack the required training in forklift driving and loading.
  • Forklifts go faster than you might think at 18 miles per hour. This may not seem like a lot, but there is a multitude of other factors why ‘pedal to the metal isn’t going to be a forklift driver’s motto of the year.
  • A forklift only has one set of breaks—in the front. Because of their total mass in addition to the weight of the load they’re carrying at the time, it will require more time to stop. It’s Newton’s first law of motion: An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless an external force acts upon it. The larger and faster the object, the more external force (the breaks) will need to be applied for it to resist its own inertia.
  • To add insult to injury, the rear wheels are the only set responsible for maneuvering, making it susceptible to tipping. Avoiding careening forklifts make it necessary for wide turns. However, in a warehouse setting, wide turns are not always realistic. Pressure on workers to fulfill quotas and deliver shipments on time isn’t an incentive to prioritize safety.
  • The nature of a forklift’s job is fundamentally dangerous. Improperly placing heavy loads on top of one another can lead to topheavy and unstable stacks that can create an avalanche of steel or wood containers.
  • The bulk of the forklift’s load obstructs the driver’s view, making it hard to see physical obstacles or people in its direct path. Although it makes about as much sense as driving a car with a plastic bag over the windshield, this is just how forklifts were designed. That’s why it’s imperative that forklift drivers take it slow and steady and not let the pressure of the job rush them out of their training.

All of these factors combined make this piece of equipment one of the most dangerous vehicles to operate on a job site. The good news: 70% of all accidents that result in serious injury or death can be avoided by taking the necessary precautions and receiving the proper training and certifications. By using a forklift pre-start checklist template, you can ensure the safety of everyone in your workforce as well as avoid having to pay out any expensive lawsuits or worker’s compensation.

A Digital Tool for Creating Your Own Forklift Inspection Checklist

Individual digital forms

The flexible form construction kit makes it possible to create new individual checklists at any time and to adapt them again and again.

First class customer service

Lumiform’s excellent 24/5 support will reliably answer all your questions about the app when you need assistance using Lumiform’s software.

Scheduling and notifications

The Lumiform App ensures that the schedule is kept. All employees receive notifications about the procedure and due dates. Managers automatically receive notifications when assignments are overdue or problems have occurred.

Time-defined work steps

Keep an eye on your schedule and use the information to identify opportunities to increase your efficiency.

Faster identification and resolution of problems

Data from inspections is collected under the Analysis Tab. Here, you can access all data and view your performance reports broken down by time, location, and department. This helps you quickly identify causes and solutions so you can fix them as quickly as possible.

Track inspections in facilities over time

Monitor your team’s inspection performance and identify opportunities to improve the process and efficiency of your operations.


Connect Lumiform’s software to enterprise software systems.

Time-defined targets

Keep an eye on what’s happening and gather insights from the information collected to increase your efficiency.

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Warehouse worker operating a yellow forklift to move canisters
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