Inadequate pre-use forklift inspections compromising safety, warns RTITBSafety is at risk in many forklift operations due to inadequate pre-use inspections, warns RTITB.

“Every forklift truck operation should begin with a preuse inspection. However, these checks are often conducted incorrectly, or overlooked completely,” says Nick Welch, Technical Director for RTITB, the leading workplace transport training accrediting body.“This poses a serious safety risk both to lift truck operators and others around them.”

Research carried out by RTITB in 2016 showed that 65% of forklift operators didn’t know how to correctly conduct the driving and braking pre-use check, 49% did not know how to check the operators seat properly and 48% were unaware how to suitably check the mast.

“Compared to efficiency or practical driving skills, preuse inspection is the area in which drivers are performing most poorly,” says Nick. “To improve safety and reduce risk, employers must deliver training that ensures operators are skilled and competent to inspect the equipment. Supervisors should also ensure that pre-use inspections are taking place, and highlight their importance in everyday operations.”

Despite the quality or age of the equipment, and even if it has been checked by another operator that day, operators should never assume that a forklift truck is safe and ready to operate. The pre-use inspection helps to identify any mechanical failures or potential problems, and each component checked is vital to the safety of the operator, and the operation.

Speaking at the recent FLTA National Fork Lift Safety Conference, Nick explained that damage or wear can occur at any time during use, making a lift truck unsafe to operate.