Forklift maintenance and inspection

This guidance may help employers and self-employed people with the maintenance and inspection of forklifts. The guidance may also benefit others with work health and safety duties.


Forklift definition

Part 3.6 of the OHS Regulations covers high-risk work, including forklift operation. For Part 3.6, a forklift means a powered industrial truck equipped with:

  • a mast, and
  • elevating load carriage to which a pair of fork arms or other load-holding attachment is attached

This guidance is for powered industrial trucks that fit this definition. To reflect common use, the guidance refers to these powered industrial trucks as forklifts.

A forklift for Part 3.6 does not include:

  • a pedestrian-operated industrial truck
  • a pallet truck that is unable, by design, to raise its fork arms 900 mm or more above the ground
  • an order-picking forklift truck
  • a tractor fitted with a pair of fork arms or other load-holding attachment

Have regular inspections and maintenance

Forklifts and any attachments must be regularly inspected and maintained to control risks associated with their use. A checklist can help with inspections and maintenance.

Figure 1: An example of a pre-operation checklist.

A pre-operation inspection should be done in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations:

  • at the start of each shift
  • before first daily use
  • when there is a change of operator

Defects need to be reported. Have a system in place to lock out the forklift or any attachment from service if a defect is identified that makes the forklift unsafe for use.

Engage a suitably competent forklift technician to maintain forklifts. This will help ensure forklifts continue to operate in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Inspection and maintenance records should show:

  • what requires inspection at given maintenance intervals
  • what has been inspected
  • any maintenance that has been carried out
  • any defects and rectification work

The records should include any pending maintenance requiring sign-off or follow-up.

Further information


Safety alerts


Industry and standards

The following standards include information relevant to the use and operation of forklifts. If a standard has been superseded, refer to the updated document.

  • AS 1319:1994 - Safety signs for the occupational environment.
  • AS/NZS 1596:2014 - The storage and handling of LP Gas.
  • AS/NZS 1680 (series) - Interior and workplace lighting.
  • AS 1742 (series) - Manual of uniform traffic control devices.
  • AS 1763:1985 - Industrial trucks – Glossary of terms.
  • AS 1940:2017 (series) - The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.

Related pages

This information is from WorkSafe's Forklift safety guidebook. The complete guide is available in two formats.

Website version PDF guidebook