ARTICLE

Lessons to learn

03 May 2021

Thorough Examinations are a legal requirement but sadly not all inspection providers offer the same level of service. CFTS chairman Geoff Martin reveals what you should be looking for.

Without knowing it you could be getting half a job and be left with a truck that needs fixing while deadlines pass you by – costing you time and money. CFTS – the body behind the national standard of Thorough Examinations – reveals what you should be looking for from an inspection provider before you let them anywhere near your truck.

Are you familiar with the term LOLER? Many in the industry use it when referring to a Thorough Examination. The truth is a LOLER and a Thorough Examination are not necessarily the same thing. If an inspector is only carrying out a LOLER, they’re missing out crucial assessments.

During a CFTS Through Examination, the lifting parts of the truck are assessed in accordance with LOLER, and non-lifting parts are checked as required by PUWER. The engineer will also conduct a 34-point inspection of forklift attachments.

The HSE is clear on its recommendation that industrial lift trucks must also be inspected under PUWER – to determine the safety of other critical parts, including the brakes and steering. It means that as many as three out of four equipment owners could be falling foul of the law while putting their operators at risk by using unsafe kit.

To overcome the problematic variation in the standard of examination providers, the Fork Lift Truck Association and the British Industrial Truck Association formed CFTS: the national accreditation scheme for Thorough Examination of materials handling and agricultural equipment. Developed in close consultation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it meets all the requirements of both LOLER and PUWER.

To highlight the importance of in-depth inspections, Thorough Examinations will be the topic of this year's National Forklift Safety Day on the 8th June 2021.

What happens if faults are found

One of the biggest issues owners face during a Thorough Examination is what happens if faults are found. Most inspectors’ involvement ends with identifying a problem, leaving the customer to side-line the truck until further notice. But having to wait for a service engineer to make any necessary repairs means lost time, late deliveries and the prospect of penalties for missed deadlines.

By contrast, a CFTS examination is designed to be as supportive to operations as possible and is geared to minimise unplanned downtime. CFTS-accredited engineers may examine, report and repair, as they usually carry tools and spare parts. This enables them to fix any defects found directly after a Thorough Examination — similar to a car MOT.

During a CFTS Through Examination, the lifting parts of the truck are assessed in accordance with LOLER, and non-lifting parts are checked as required by PUWER. The engineer will also conduct a 34-point inspection of forklift attachments.

Following an examination CFTS-accredited companies are obliged, under a stringent procedural code, to provide a comprehensive set of materials, including:

· A Report of Thorough Examination complying fully with LOLER and PUWER.

· An itemised checklist specifying what has been checked and recording any comments made.

· A Thorough Examination certificate to keep with the truck’s documents.

· A sticker, affixed to the truck, to show the day, month and year when the next Thorough Examination will be due.

If your inspection provider isn’t offering documents like these, you may not be getting a truly Thorough Examination.

At CFTS, competent persons must have the relevant experience, and are required to complete a two-day Thorough Examination course that is revalidated every five years so that skills are maintained.

This is all to ensure that CFTS-accredited inspectors are able to perform accurate physical examinations on key components, rather than superficial, visual-only checks. With CFTS, there is no room for guesswork.

By specifying a CFTS-accredited examination you take any ambiguity out of the equation, and can be assured that you are fulfilling your responsibilities to comply with the law and protect your staff.

Importantly, for anyone reconsidering their Thorough Examination provision, it is worth noting that insurance companies have no legal right to insist that their own inspectors carry out your Thorough Examinations. You are perfectly at liberty to make your own arrangements (which may prove cheaper as well as more thorough). 

For more information, visit www.thoroughexamination.org

 
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