The Pre-Operational Safety Inspection

You’ve heard the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Getting into the habit of regularly inspecting all equipment is a simple but important preventative measure, and should be part of every operator’s daily pre-shift routine. A visual “circle check” and pre-use operational check will reduce the chance of equipment being operated in an unsafe condition (which could cause injury to operators workers, facilities or product). It also allows you to spot and deal with maintenance issues early, before they turn into larger problems like downtime, equipment damage, or expensive repairs.

Begin the visual check with a quick overview of the work environment. Is the floor and surrounding area clear of obstructions? How about overhead? Is there evidence of any fluid leaks? Then look over the vehicle itself, noting and wear or damage to tires, hoses, forks, attachments, chains, reels, holddowns, guards and so forth. Ensure fluid levels are good, the battery is charged, lights and horn are operational.

Next, start the unit and check that all gauges are operational, brakes gears and steering are working smoothly, lifting and tilting mechanisms are functioning correctly, and cylinders and hoses are not leaking.

Any problems that are identified should be reported to a supervisor immediately.

A useful tool is the Pre-Operational Inspection Checklist. Implementing the use of a paper checklist system reminds the operator to regularly perform all pre-shift checks, ensures that problems are documented and communicated to supervisors, and helps pinpoint when and how changes in the condition of the equipment occurred.

Work smart, stay safe!