Before You Go...
It is the responsibility of all equipment operators to conduct equipment inspections. While we practice this diligently with our hand tools, it seems mobile equipment can be neglected. Pickup trucks, forklifts, man-lifts, and other mobile equipment are often times are overlooked when it comes to making certain the machinery is in safe operating condition.
Walk-around inspections typically take only a few minutes, and are one of the best ways to discover any safety hazards and potential maintenance problems. When an operator finds a fluid leak, loose hose, or some other problem before a failure, injuries can be avoided and repair time minimized.
Each piece of machinery is different, and each will have different settings and conditions that require checking during a walk-around inspection. If a checklist is not provided, the operator should refer to the owners’ manual for guidance, and alert management to the need for a documented inspection checklist for that item.
Inspections of equipment will require the inspector to use their senses of sight, smell, sound, and touch. While this list is not all-inclusive, here are some common points of inspection for most equipment to check before operating:
1. Fluid levels, including:
- Brake fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Hydraulic oil
2. Signal Inspection:
- Brake and reverse lights
- Headlights, both high and low beam
- Turn Signals
3. Equipment walk around:
- Tires: Properly inflated, no cuts, punctures and/or excessive wear
- Tire lugs: All are in place, tight and no rust is present which can be a sign of widening bolt hole
- No trash or loose materials in cab or bed
- Loads: Secured
- Fire extinguisher: secured, charged and inspected monthly
- Windows: Clean, no cracks or visual obstructions
- Fluids: Look for fluid leaks underneath
- Cleanliness of equipment
4. Engine compartment:
- Loose wiring
- Guards in place
- Worn belts and hoses
- Dirty air filter
- Battery cables and post
5. Start up the equipment then check:
- Reverse alarm
- Listen for unusual noises
- Check brakes to include parking brakes
This list is not all-inclusive for every piece of equipment, it is, however, a good start. We have specific checklists for all Wachs owned and frequently rented equipment. If there is an instance when we are unsure of where to find an equipment specific checklist, or if we intend to rent equipment, take the time to contact the safety department to collect the needed checklist prior to the documented operators’ training.
The old adage, “If it’s not documented, it hasn’t been done”, is as true today as ever before. Pre-shift inspections are required by Wachs procedures, and by law, prior to operation of mobile equipment. The inspection must be conducted both visually and operationally. Any defect(s) found will result in the defect being corrected before placing the equipment into operation. If we fail to correctly document, we fail to do the job right. All completed inspection checklists will be turned in to Wachs supervision who will check to ensure the form is filled out correctly with no issues left unresolved. Once supervision is satisfied that the form is completed, they will turn it in to the safety department.
Completed Checklists are inspected:
- During auditing
- Post-incident investigation
- Client inspection
- OSHA/Regulatory inspection
By law, equipment must be safe to operate. Wachs will never comprise in that effort. The condition of our equipment reflects our values, the quality of our work, and the professionalism of our workforce. First impressions are often a make or break moment.