Even if you have operated a forklift for years, it is important to review an operator checklist prior to starting a forklift. Here is a handy list to complete before starting a forklift. 

Pre-Operation Inspection

OSHA requires that forklifts be inspected daily. This helps operators become familiar with the forklift and increases the likelihood of identifying when something is astray. If the device is deemed unsafe or defective, the forklift should be tagged and not be driven.

This inspection should include, but is not limited to:

  • Fluid levels; oil, water, and hydraulic fluid.
  • Leaks, cracks, or any other visible defect, including mast chain (do not use your hand to check the mast tension) and hydraulic hose.
  • Tire condition and pressure.
  • Condition of the forks.
  • Load backrest extension.
  • Finger guards.
  • Ensure all safety decals and nameplates, as well as operator manual, are in place and are legible.
  • Check for grease and debris in the operator compartment.
  • All safety components are in place and working properly, including the seat belt.

Additional items should be checked based upon the type of forklift power (electric or internal combustion).

Entering and Dismounting A forklift:

When mounting your forklift, be aware of your surroundings. The hazards include bumping your head, slipping, tripping, and falling. To help keep operators safe, OSHA offers these recommendations:

  • Be sure that your hands are clean and dry to prevent slipping when grabbing handhold.
  • Check your shoes for grease before entering the vehicle.
  • Grasp handhold and get a good grip. Never grab the steering wheel because it could cause you to lose balance if it moves.
  • Always be careful with your footing when mounting and dismounting vehicle. 
  • Pull or lower your body carefully into or out of cab. Dismounting is the opposite of mounting -- do not jump.
  • Wear appropriate footwear to prevent skids.

Norlift also recommends to keep three points of contact with the truck when entering or dismounting. Break three-point contact only when you reach the ground, cab, or platform.

Starting a forklift:

If you are going to operate a forklift, you need to let others know. When traveling around corners or through blind intersections, sound your horn to alert others of your presence. Or, you can ask a coworker to be a spotter. 

To help create a safe environment, make sure to start safely and proceed cautiously. Even if you operate a forklift everyday, make sure you are prepared for changes to your environment. 


To inquire about forklift safety training, call (503) 659-5438 or send an inquiry by clicking the button. 

CALL (503) 659-5438 OR VISIT US TODAY!