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Inspections you can trust

29 October 2021

As the only industry-recognised independent Thorough Examination scheme in the UK, CFTS provides complete peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your equipment.

THOROUGH EXAMINATIONS are required by law to verify that trucks are operating as intended and there are no faults that could lead to accident or injury.

Today, there is still much confusion among owners and users of work equipment surrounding what constitutes a Thorough Examination, and the reality is that many providers only inspect the lifting parts under LOLER, missing out vital checks of the brakes and steering covered under PUWER.

CFTS is the industry’s accrediting body for Thorough Examinations and Safety Inspections. It was created by leading trade bodies to provide consistent, in-depth assessments in line with both LOLER and PUWER regulations.

Keep staff safe

While the majority of workplace accidents are down to human error, regular maintenance and examination of work equipment can help to significantly reduce the number of devastating incidents that occur due to mechanical failure.

Recently, a fencing manufacturer was fined £35,000 after a fatal incident on site.

A telescopic handler was being used to move timber, when it was lifted too high and tipped over, knocking stacked timber onto the truck operator, resulting in his death. The subsequent HSE investigation found the telehandler safety device – designed to stop loads being lifted too high – had not been functional for a long period. The owner had not ensured that the machine was properly maintained or thoroughly examined.

Accidents like these have life-changing consequences for all parties involved, but the truth is they can be avoided. Ensuring that trucks have undergone a Thorough Examination at recommended intervals is a key step towards a safer workplace. 

Industry-approved guidelines

CFTS Thorough Examinations and Safety Inspections follow BITA Guidance Note 28 (GN28), which outlines standards and procedures in accordance with LOLER and PUWER.

Recently, GN28 was updated to include clarifications on when a Thorough Examination is required, what criteria should be used for the assessment, and what actions should be taken when defects are identified.

It is important to note that the law has not changed. But key points include:

  • In situations where an exceptional event has occurred – such as an impact or overload – an additional Thorough Examination is required before the equipment is brought back into service. 
  • If the Competent Person carrying out the inspection is unable to complete a Thorough Examination due to a serious defect of the lifting parts, then they must inform the relevant enforcement authority. 
  • Where fitted, operator assistance systems, safety cut-offs and speed reductions must be working correctly. 
  • Where there is a defect or imminent failure in the lifting equipment involving a risk of serious injury, e.g., chain or fork wear beyond replacement limits, or a missing or defaced capacity/data plate, the examiner must send a copy of the report to the relevant enforcement authority as required by LOLER.

GN28 can be purchased from the BITA webshop, or is available for free for UKMHA members.

Tailored documentation

The Competent person carrying out the Thorough Examination should be a trained specialist in materials handling equipment and be able to apply real-world judgements based on the truck rather than theoretical projections. 

For example, CFTS members do not take a “one size fits all approach”. They will provide a Competent Person who will use specific documentation that has been tailored to meet a wide range of criteria depending on whether the equipment is standard (for counterbalance trucks, telehandlers, tractors, etc), attachments (bale clamps, cages, etc.), or mobile elevated working platforms (cherry pickers, scissor lifts, etc). This documentation is exclusive to CFTS members and comes in UK or ROI versions to guarantee compliance with the correct national legislation.

How to spot a good Thorough Examination provider

Here are a few things to look for when checking whether your equipment’s Thorough Examination fully complies with HSE guidelines:

Protocols: Is the Competent Person conducting the inspection working to nationally agreed protocols and checklists? CFTS members inspect 33 different parts and systems as well as a further 34 checks specifically for any attachments.

Tools: Does the competent person carry the equipment necessary to carry out the inspection thoroughly? This might include an A-frame ladder to inspect chain-wear at the top of the mast (where it passes over the rollers and where wear is greatest), a trolley-jack for raising the truck to inspect brakes and steering components, and a chain gauge for accurate, replicable assessment of wear.

Quality: Does the provider follow a Quality Assured Procedural Code? CFTS-accredited examiners are held to account in line with stringent standards.

Training: Check whether the examination is being conducted by a ‘generalist’ inspection provider or a specialist engineer. When was the inspection provider last accredited? When did they last receive refresher training? 

Documentation: Do you receive the appropriate documentation to certify, beyond doubt, that everything has been carried out by an accredited examiner? CFTS members provide:

  • A Report of Thorough Examination.
  • An itemised checklist showing what has been inspected and comments made.
  • A certificate of compliance to keep with the truck’s documents.
  • A sticker placed prominently on the truck showing the day, month and year that the next Thorough Examination is due.
  • A sticker to show when repairs must be completed by.

More and more companies that provide service and maintenance for forklifts are expanding their offering to include Thorough Examinations. The far-reaching CFTS network of accredited companies now includes over 600 member depots around the UK, ensuring that customers receive a truly local service.