Ask the Expert, Forklifts

Ask the Expert: What Are OSHA Requirements for Floor Markings and Forklift Inspections?

Today we’re getting answers from EHS Hero® experts for two forklift-related questions. First, does OSHA require floor markings to clarify pedestrian walkways where lift traffic may be present? And second, does OSHA require annual forklift inspections? Read on to see what the experts had to say.


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Q: Does OSHA requires floors to be marked to designate visitor and employee walkways where lift traffic is present?

Although OSHA no longer has specific floor marking requirements, the General Duty Clause states that an employer shall furnish a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Forklift traffic is a recognized hazard and designated walkways are a standard, best practice control for the hazard. 1910.22(c) also requires safe access and egress. Designated walkways would satisfy this requirement as well.

Q: 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. Here are best practices for inspection frequency, plus items to keep in mind during preoperational and operational inspections.

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
Ask the Expert is a service provided to subscribers of BLR®’s EHS Hero product, where experts are ready with answers to your organization’s unique questions surrounding EHS compliance. To learn more and request a trial of EHS Hero, click here.

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