Forklift Pre-Start Safety Checks

Forklifts pose a significant risk to workers and property if not used safely. That’s why it’s crucial to follow forklift safety in the workplace and perform pre-start safety checks on forklifts before each use.

Forklift Safety in the Workplace

Forklifts are a common piece of equipment used in many workplaces to move heavy loads. They are powerful machines that can be dangerous if not operated safely. According to Safe Work Australia, forklifts are responsible for a significant number of workplace injuries and fatalities each year. To prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace, it’s important to follow proper safety procedures when operating a forklift. Here are some tips for the safe operation of forklifts in the workplace:

  1. Only trained and authorised operators should operate forklifts: Forklifts should only be operated by trained and authorised operators who have received the appropriate training and have the necessary skills and knowledge to operate the machine safely.
  2. Conduct a pre-operation inspection: Before using a forklift, a pre-operation inspection should be conducted to check for any faults or defects. This includes checking the brakes, steering, tyres, and other parts of the machine to ensure they are in good working order.
  3. Ensure the load is stable: Before lifting a load with a forklift, it’s important to ensure the load is stable and balanced. The load should be centered on the forks and secured with straps or chains if necessary.
  4. Observe the speed limit: Forklifts should be operated at a safe speed that is appropriate for the conditions. This includes taking into account the load being carried, the terrain, and the visibility.
  5. Keep a safe distance from people and objects: Forklift operators should keep a safe distance from people and objects to prevent collisions and other accidents. Pedestrian walkways should be clearly marked and forklifts should not be driven in areas where pedestrians are present.
  6. Use the horn and lights: Forklifts should be equipped with a horn and lights that should be used to warn others of their presence and to signal intentions.
  7. Follow proper loading and unloading procedures: Forklifts should be loaded and unloaded properly to prevent damage to the machine and the load. This includes ensuring that the load is centred on the forks and that the machine is level before lifting or lowering the load.
  8. Park the forklift properly: When not in use, forklifts should be parked in a designated area and the forks should be lowered to the ground. The machine should be turned off and the key removed to prevent unauthorised use.

What are Pre-Start Safety Checks?

Pre-start safety checks are inspections that are conducted before each use of a forklift. These checks are designed to identify any potential problems with the forklift that could affect its safe operation. They involve examining the forklift’s critical systems, such as the brakes, steering, hydraulics, and tires, to ensure they are in good working condition.

Why Are Pre-Start Safety Checks Important?

Performing pre-start safety checks on forklifts is important for many reasons which include:

Firstly, they help prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace. By identifying and addressing potential problems before the forklift is put into use, workers can be confident that the machine is safe to operate. This not only protects workers but also minimizes the risk of damage to property or products.

Secondly, pre-start safety checks are required by law in many countries. In Australia, for example, employers are legally required to ensure that forklifts are maintained and serviced regularly and that pre-start safety checks are conducted before each use.

Finally, performing pre-start safety checks can also help extend the life of forklifts. By identifying and addressing potential problems early, operators can prevent small issues from becoming major problems that could require expensive repairs or even result in the need for a new forklift.

What Do Pre-Start Safety Checks Involve?

Pre-start safety checks involve a series of visual and functional checks to ensure that the forklift is in good working condition. These checks may vary depending on the type of forklift and its specific features, but they typically include:

  • Checking the tires for damage or wear
  • Inspecting the forks and load backrest for damage
  • Checking the hydraulic system for leaks or damage
  • Testing the brakes and parking brake
  • Checking the steering system for proper function
  • Checking the seat and seatbelt
  • Inspecting the lights, horn, and other safety features

In addition to these checks, pre-start safety checks may also involve starting the engine and testing the forklift’s functions, such as lifting and lowering the forks, tilting the mast, and shifting gears.

Below: Digital Forklift Pre-Start Checklist by DIGI CLIP mobile forms

Forklift Pre-Start Safety Checklist

DIGI CLIP mobile forms provide digital safety, compliance & inspections checklists

Digital Forklift Pre-Start Checks

While conducting daily pre-start checks manually can be time-consuming and prone to human error, adopting digital checklists can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of pre-start inspections. Digital checklists are becoming increasingly popular in the transportation industry as they can streamline the inspection process.

Digital checklists allow drivers and operators to conduct inspections quickly and easily on a mobile device or tablet. The checklists can be customised to include specific checks and procedures, and drivers can record their observations, attach photos and add a digital signature for accountability. Digital checklists also have the advantage of being submitted to a cloud-based software with a central database, providing real-time reporting and analysis of inspections.

Implementing digital checklists can improve the accuracy of inspections, reduce errors, and provide managers with real-time information on the status of their fleet. Digital checklists can also provide an audit trail of inspections, making it easier to demonstrate compliance with regulations in the event of an audit or investigation.


Forklift pre-start safety checks are an essential part of safe forklift operation. They help prevent accidents and injuries, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and help extend the life of forklifts. By performing these checks before each use, operators can identify and address potential problems early, ensuring that the forklift is in good working condition and safe to use.

DIGI CLIP mobile forms – What Do We Do?

DIGI CLIP mobile forms is an easy-to-use inexpensive digital checklist & inspection app and cloud-based software. DIGI CLIP is used across different industries to capture safety and compliance data and other information to help improve safety, compliance and operational efficiencies.

DIGI CLIP will allow you to remove paper reporting from your business – no more lost, late missing or illegible checklists. The DIGI CLIP mobile app allows images, comments and digital signatures to be added to checklists from a phone or tablet.

DIGI CLIP has a Form Library where you can access all of your checklists, inspections and more ready for use. All checklists and inspections can be edited or updated to meet your risk and operational requirements.

DIGI CLIP also has a safety management module called Safety Tracker. Safety Tracker is our incident and hazard reporting and management software application that adds to DIGI CLIP mobile forms. Incidents and hazards are reported via the DIGI CLIP app or directly on the cloud-based software. Incident and quality Investigations and hazard assessments are completed on templates provided by DIGI CLIP and corrective and closeout actions are tracked by the cloud-based software.

Follow this link if you want to know more about what we do and how we can help or send us a message.

Streamline your safety, compliance & inspection checks with the DIGI CLIP mobile checklist app today.

checklist and inspections app - DIGI CLIP mobile forms

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, financial, or other professional advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided in this article. Readers are advised to seek the advice of a qualified professional for any specific concerns or questions related to their business operations or compliance with relevant regulations.