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FLT ‘Thorough Examination’ – what does it actually mean?

Apr 18, 2018
If you oversee fork lift operations you’ll be familiar with the term ‘Thorough Examination’, but what does it actually mean? Not knowing could come at a heavy cost, according to CFTS (Consolidated Fork Truck Services), the body that established a UK standard for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks.

Fork Lift Truck Thorough ExaminationRecent changes to legislation mean that, as an employer, you need to understand what it is, why it’s required and, most important of all, what it means in practice.

What is a Thorough Examination?
A Thorough Examination is an essential, mandatory check to ensure that your trucks are in safe working order. It is not the same as any regular checks your trucks may have as part of a scheduled service plan.

It is required by law and covers two different sets of Health and Safety regulations, LOLER 98 and PUWER 98. The LOLER and PUWER legislation covers different areas of a truck’s operation, so a truck that passes LOLER 98 could still leave you liable under PUWER 98, and vice versa. This is why a Thorough Examination is paramount. It means you’re completely covered.

Why is it so important now?
The costs for non-compliance are higher than they have ever been. With the introduction of the Fee for Intervention, updates to L117, and increased fines for individuals under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, it’s never been more pressing for managers and supervisors to be fully aware of what’s required and making sure they comply.

How often do you need one?
At least once every 12 months is stated in legislation, though under LOLER 98 this could be more frequently, depending on how, when, and where the truck is used.

What parts of the fork lift must be checked by law?
LOLER 98 covers the lifting parts of the truck, as well as lifting accessories. PUWER 98 -  which is generally less understood by fork lift owners - covers the risks associated with the non-lifting parts of the truck, such as brakes and steering.

CFTS developed a standardised test that covers both PUWER and LOLER so you can be confident your truck is covered under the law.

Who is responsible for ensuring your truck has a valid Report of Thorough Examination?
If the truck is owned outright, or is on a long-term hire of 12-months or more, then the responsibility is on the truck’s owner or leaser/user. When a truck is hired for less than a year, the rental company has the responsibility of arranging the Thorough Examination.

However, whether you hire a truck for a day or a year, you should insist that a copy of the truck’s Report of Thorough Examination is included with the rental documentation. That way you can be satisfied that your employees are operating a truck that is safe and legal. 

Importantly, a fork lift should also have a valid Thorough Examination report whenever it changes hands: either temporarily or permanently.

What if I fail to comply?
Non-compliance with LOLER 98 and PUWER 98 comes at a heavy cost. You run the risk of prosecution and financial penalties, as well as putting your workforce at risk of serious injury or even death.

What is CFTS?
The FLTA (Fork Lift Truck Association) and BITA (British Industrial Truck Association), the UK’s leading authorities, came together, in consultation with the Health & Safety Executive, to establish CFTS: delivering a safe, national, quality-controlled process for Thorough Examination.

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