Does OSHA Require Annual Forklift Inspections?

Experts at® were recently asked, “Is there an OSHA requirement for annual inspections for forklifts or similar powered industrial vehicles?” The short answer is that inspections should be performed much more frequently. Read on for more info on inspection frequency, plus items to keep in mind during preoperational and operational inspections.

Forklift in warehouse

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Inspection frequency. Forklifts must be examined at least daily before being placed in service. Forklifts used on a round-the-clock basis must be examined after each shift. Defects must be immediately reported and corrected. For more information about all forklift inspection and maintenance requirements, see the rule at 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.178(p) and(q).

Preoperational inspection (engine off). Before starting a vehicle, the operator must conduct a preoperation (or prestart) inspection that checks a variety of items, including, but not limited to:

  • Fluid levels—oil, water, and hydraulic fluid.
  • Leaks, cracks, or any other visible defect, including hydraulic hoses and mast chains. Note: Operators must not place their hands inside the mast. Use a stick or other device to check chain tension.
  • Tire condition and pressure, including cuts and gouges.
  • Condition of the forks, including the top clip retaining pin and heel.
  • Load backrest extension.
  • Finger guards.

Operational inspection (engine on). After completing the preoperation inspection, operators must conduct an operational inspection with the engine running. This inspection includes:

  • Accelerator linkage
  • Inch control (if equipped)
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Drive control: forward and reverse
  • Tilt control: forward and back
  • Hoist and lowering control
  • Attachment control
  • Horn
  • Lights
  • Backup alarm (if equipped)
  • Hour meter