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No half measures

19 November 2019

Many Thorough Examinations don’t live up to their name. CFTS explains why it’s important to never accept half a job.

To the surprise of many, there is no single piece of legislation that deals with the Thorough Examination and inspection of forklift trucks.

Instead, there are two sets of regulations: LOLER 98 covers the lifting parts of the truck; PUWER 98 covers safety-related items, such as brakes, steering and tyres.

But this leads to a lot of confusion. To overcome this, the two leading organisations in the forklift truck industry – the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) – worked in consultation with the HSE to create a single inspection procedure available to truck users, whatever their industry or wherever their location.  

With over 600 accredited member depots across the UK, a proper Thorough Examination is closer than you think. Find your nearest member on the CFTS website.

The resulting organisation, Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS), established a comprehensive procedure and strict code of practice. It gives forklift truck users a consistent, safe national standard certain to fulfil the requirements of both LOLER 98 and PUWER 98. It is also backed by dedicated training of competent persons, unparalleled technical expertise and complete traceability.

The CFTS standard has been developed to meet the needs of the wide range of lift trucks in operation so the exact nature of the inspection is appropriate to the equipment.

Service you can trust

CFTS delivers all of the safety objectives of Thorough Examination. It also covers additional inspections across areas known to be necessary for safe operation. Few outside the industry can claim such authority and familiarity with the examination procedure and commitment to its aims. No other scheme has the full backing of the relevant industry trade associations.

Examiners employed by inspection companies may cover a wide range of equipment, but CFTS-accredited forklift truck engineers will have the in-depth knowledge to identify and categorise defects more clearly than examiners from a broader background. Their training as a Competent Person includes a demanding course on Thorough Examination and they must meet nationally agreed criteria in this role. Correspondingly high levels of training and experience are also required of their managers.


Tel: 01344 623800 / Web: www.thoroughexamination.org
Matthew Kennedy, Technical Manger (South) - matthew@thoroughexamination.org
Adrian White, Technical Manager (North) - Adrian@thoroughexamination.org

Crucially, companies conducting Thorough Examinations under the CFTS scheme will have been obliged to sign up to every aspect of the Procedural Code. There are no half measures.

Keeping you up and running

Another point of difference between the approach of CFTS and other inspection companies is what happens in the case of non-compliance. Most inspectors’ involvement ends with identifying a problem, leaving the customer to side-line the truck until further notice.

By contrast, CFTS members employ fully trained forklift engineers who, having completed the inspection, can then remedy any faults so you stay operational — similar to a car MOT.

Look for the mark

CFTS is identified by its distinctive kitemark, found on literature, certification, reports and truck stickers that advise when your next examination is due. Only companies officially accredited to CFTS are able to use this certification mark.

Each company accredited to CFTS is routinely inspected and operates in alignment with up-to-date regulations. By choosing a CFTS-accredited company, you can be sure that your Thorough Examination will be in-depth and meet the highest standards.

CFTS was created in 2004 to improve operational safety standards across the materials handling industry. Visit the website for further information, or to find details on all CFTS-accredited companies.

For anyone reconsidering their Thorough Examination provision in the light of all this, it is worth noting that inspection 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). 

How frequent should Thorough Examinations be?

Thorough Examinations are required at least once every 12 months. But LOLER 98 makes it clear that they could be required more frequently — depending on the challenges the truck faces. This includes:

  • Truck type
  • Hours worked per week
  • Operating environment
  • Whether it has been fitted with non-permanent attachments
  • If it is ever used for lifting people — no matter how infrequently — including working platforms and cages

CFTS offers an interactive tool on its website where you can find out when your next Thorough Examination is due.


On average, the CFTS scheme is growing by 12 percent each year. If you are a service provider, you can apply to join the national network of CFTS providers — associating your brand with a code of professional conduct and a signal that you’re actively upholding your customers’ safety, legal standing and the condition of their trucks. Find out more on the CFTS website.

Clarifying confusion over hand pallet truck requirements

Complying with LOLER 98 and PUWER 98 regulations is a significant responsibility for companies that employ lift trucks. However, there is often much confusion when it comes to manual and powered hand pallet trucks. 

CFTS offers clear positions on the required inspections for hand pallet trucks, which have also been confirmed by the HSE.

In summary:

  • Pallet trucks that lift above 300mm must have a Thorough Examination in accordance with LOLER 98 and a documented inspection under PUWER 98.
  • Pallet trucks that lift below 300mm are not subject to LOLER 98 and do not require a Thorough Examination but must receive a documented inspection under PUWER 98. 

The clarification appears within the June 2018 update to the HSE’s Safe use of lifting equipmentLifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (L113). The publication is free to download from www.hse.gov.uk/L113.

CFTS strongly advises companies to contact their nearest CFTS member to ensure any pallet trucks in use comply with HSE requirements.