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What is a Pre Start Checklist? (UPDATED APRIL 2021)





Pre Start Checklists


Pre start checklists are lists of activities required before using equipment. They help you manage complex industrial assets such as trucks, or other equipment. The pre start checklist helps the operator ensure the equipment is fit for use. Operators record that they have completed the check, and record any issues found.

Benefits of Pre Start Checklists

  • Ensures operators share in accountability of their equipment
  • Helps ensure safety of the equipment and the operator prior to operation
  • Fix problems quickly and more cost-effectively if they are known early
  • Comply with Chain of Responsibility requirements
  • Limit liability in the case of an accident
  • Helps extend the life of the equipment

Paper-Based Pre Start Checklists

Many organizations still use traditional paper based pre start checklists.  A sample of a paper Pre Start Checklist can be found here.  The advantages of this type of pre start checklist are –

  • Operators are familiar with them
  • They are simple, cheap and easy to use
  • They provide a clear audit trail and are fit for purpose

The disadvantages –

  • Possibility of losing the checklist results
  • Not so easy to customize pre start checklists for different equipment
  • Operator must remember to do it
  • No barcoding of assets increases the chance of errors
  • Slower to use
  • Cannot capture pictures of defective parts
  • Cannot automatically record GPS location and time of inspections to ensure they are done as required
  • People tend to take paper-based data less seriously as it’s almost never checked
pre start checklist

Electronic Pre Start Checklists

Electronic pre start checklists are available in two formats. There are standalone phone apps that link back to a website. They can come as a bundle with a fleet management or other asset management system.
Items on the pre start checklist are often categorised by equipment type. Inspections or other actions are triggered based on time, meter or condition. Email or other alerts are generated for items that do not pass the pre start check.


Advantages of Electronic Pre Start Checklists

  • Easier to customize pre start checklists for different equipment
  • Phone application can remind operator when to do the checks
  • Results can be submitted in real time to ensure follow up work orders are arranged promptly
  • No possibility of losing the results – in fact they can be acted on immediately
  • Barcoding of assets minimises the chance of errors
  • Electronic checklists are faster to use
  • Can capture all types of information including pictures of defective parts
  • Record GPS location and time of inspections to ensure they are done as required
  • ISO 55000 compliance

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