The typical forklift is classified as a “Powered Industrial Truck” by OSHA. Although OSHA does not specifically state that the operator must keep a written pre-operation inspection log, it is wise to do so. Doing so helps formalize and document inspections and serve to indicate where service and/or repair is needed. Also, it will demonstrate to OSHA that you are indeed inspecting your forklifts.
PIT’s such as forklifts should have operable safety devices such as a horn, warning lights, a back-up beeper, seatbelts and a currently tagged and inspected fire extinguisher on board. Operators must use seatbelts. If the factory belt does not extend far enough to buckle in a portly operator, compliant belt extenders are available.
The lifting capacity of the forklift should be noted on the machine – information usually found on the manufacturer’s information plate or tag. But, sometimes this information is missing or illegible – tags are painted over or fall off. One easy fix is to stencil the load capacity to the mast facing the operator – so they will know that information at a glance. Don’t forget to comply with operator certification requirements found here:
There are other PIT’s such as boom lifts that need the same sort of pre-operation inspection. However, inspection checklists should pertain to the equipment. There are different inspection points depending on what sort of equipment is being used. Likewise, operator training should be equipment-specific.
By the way, it is against the law for anyone younger than 18 years old to operate a forklift/powered industrial truck.