Landscaping - Vehicle Start-up - the Circle Check

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What is a circle check?

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A circle check is a visual and audible inspection of a vehicle or mobile equipment. The circle check allows operators to look and listen for any areas of concern. If a concern is noted, do not use that vehicle or equipment until the issue has been addressed.   

A circle check should be completed at the start of the shift or before a new operator takes control of the vehicle.  Many workplaces will provide a pre-operational checklist logbook in each vehicle. This logbook is a recordkeeping tool that records the date, operator, and the elements that were checked before each use.

What should I do before starting a vehicle?

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  • Read, understand, and follow manufacturer's operating manual.
  • Know how to operate the vehicle and use any related equipment or attachments safety. Be familiar with the location and function of all the controls.
  • Inspect your vehicle daily.
  • Develop a routine method of inspecting vehicle (e.g. start at the front on the driver's side and walk towards the back, and around past the passenger side, checking the items listed below).
Be familiar with the location and function of all the controls

There are many tips in other Landscaping OSH Answers documents.

What should I check before operating a vehicle?

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  • Adjust seat and controls.
  • Make sure you have your driver's license on you as well as any training certificates that may be required.
  • Fasten seat belt if tractor/loader is equipped with roll-over protection structure (ROPS).

Below is a sample inspection checklist. Always adapt sample checklists to meet the needs of your organization, the equipment specifications, and any legislative requirements.

Vehicle or Equipment Inspected:






Not OK

Element Verified



Parking Brake - holds against slight acceleration



Foot Brake - holds, stops vehicle smoothly



Clutch and Gearshift - shifts smoothly without jumping or jerking



Steering - moves smoothly; no "play"



Lights - headlights, warning lights, and turn signals operational



Dash Control Panel - all lights and gauges operational



All Moving Parts - no strange noises



Horn – operational



Visibility - mirrors properly adjusted; windows clean and intact



Wipers/washer - functioning and intact



Tires - pressure, tread depth or damage



Wheels and fasteners - no defects in rim, loose or missing fasteners



Seat belts - in good condition and being used



Vehicle back-up alarm - operational, where required



Hydraulic systems - no evidence of leaks and systems operate smoothly



For tractors, power take off shields - in place



Fluid levels verified - oil, gas, brakes, washer fluid. Check for leaks



Load - secure and complying with regulations; hitch in good condition



Emergency equipment - installed and inspected as required by law or company policy



Additional Notes:



Record and report any defects to your supervisor immediately.



  • Fact sheet confirmed current: 2022-05-26
  • Fact sheet last revised: 2022-05-26