Firm fined for forklift failure
Do not forget your attachments!
CFTS, the body behind the UK’s national scheme for the Thorough Examination of lift trucks, has issued a reminder to truck owners and operators: Thorough Examination is not just for trucks; attachments require inspection too.
Under UK health and safety law, fork lift truck users are legally obliged to ensure that their trucks receive a thorough examination, at least once every 12 months (more frequently in some cases). Attachments – such as platforms, booms, cranes, grabbers, fork extensions, etc – also require inspection, and failure to comply could lead to prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
When attachments are permanently fixed to the truck, they should be inspected as part of the truck’s thorough examination. However, non-permanent attachments are not included in this, and must be inspected by a competent person at least twice a year.
Fork trucks must comply with LOLER and PUWER. As the HSE states: ‘LOLER 1998 covers lifting equipment, and PUWER 1998, deals with all other safety-related items, such as brakes, steering and tyres’. As part of the lifting mechanism, permanent attachments must be inspected along with the rest of the truck.
CFTS Chairman, Mike Mathias, explains: “Attachments are a crucial part of the lifting mechanism and must be treated accordingly. The sudden failure of a boom, winch, platform, or other attachment could be incredibly dangerous – particularly while carrying a load.
“The CFTS Thorough Examination lives up to its name and includes an 18-point checklist for attachments alone. This ensures attachments are in good general condition, and that all their components – electronic, hydraulic, and mechanical – are working correctly. In this way, truck operators can be secure in the knowledge that their truck is safe and legal.”
Depending on a number of factors, including average weekly use, working environment, and tasks performed, forklifts, and their permanent attachments, can require examination as often as every four months. The CFTS website features a specification tool which tells users how often their truck should be examined.
Non-permanent attachments are just as important. They must be regularly inspected for wear and tear, and properly examined at least once every 6 months, by a ‘competent person’.
This person must have appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the attachments, and be able to both detect defects and assess how important they are to the safety and continued use of the equipment.
Mr. Mathias concludes: “Attachments, both permanent and non-permanent, must be used, maintained, and inspected correctly if companies are to comply with the law. Failure to do so endangers your staff, stock and your very business.”With more than 500 accredited UK companies, CFTS Thorough Examinations are available throughout the whole country.
Good practice spreading far and wide
CFTS Thorough Examination accreditation reaches Jersey
Fork lift truck users in Jersey can now benefit from assured standards in Thorough Examination as 4fleet,part of 4group, has become the first Channel Islands company to gain CFTS accreditation.
“Our network of accredited members is growing throughout the UK and Ireland, and we’re delighted to be spreading in yet another direction,” says Mike Mathias, Chairman of CFTS (Consolidated Fork Truck Services).
He adds: “The regulations governing Thorough Examination on Jersey have different names but essentially they cover much the same as ours in the UK – and the arguments in favour of CFTS Thorough Examination are just as strong.”
Why choose CFTS?
“In a nutshell, without the CFTS procedure and code of practice there is a real risk of Thorough Examinations failing to comply with the law – allowing safety defects to go unnoticed and putting the fork lift user at risk of prosecution.
“A key problem is that many inspections focus on the lifting mechanisms and pay too little attention to other parts of the truck. In addition, the legal requirements, which apply to a wide range of other machinery, are open to individual interpretation by different inspectors.
“In CFTS Thorough Examination we have a comprehensive procedure, specific to fork lift trucks, developed by those who understand them best – the Fork Lift Truck Association and the British Industrial Truck Association. Customers choosing CFTS Thorough Examinations can be sure of the same high standards, wherever they are.”
The law in Jersey
Those familiar with the UK legislation and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance would find Jersey’s equivalents very similar. There, the Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI) has a code of practice and guidance document entitled ‘The Safe Use of Rider-operated Lift Trucks’ which helps in meeting the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law, 1989.
In several places, it refers to the Chains, Ropes and Lifting Gear (Jersey) Regulations, 1980, similar to the UK’s LOLER 98 requirements, and specifies the need for ‘thorough examination by a competent person’.
Interestingly, where chains form part of the lifting equipment, Jersey’s regulations stipulate that they be thoroughly examined every six months.
Mike explains: “On the mainland, chains must be checked at least once every 12 months by law. But more challenging applications will require checks more frequently – even once every three months.”
Increased confidence for Jersey customers
For Jersey-based 4group, which provides a wide range of materials handling, transport, construction, electrical, power generation and other equipment for hire, sale or as managed packages, CFTS accreditation is seen as another important way of ensuring customer confidence, as Managing Director Nigel Blandin explains:
“We are working towards Centre of Excellence Status with Hire Association Europe and we are always looking for opportunities to further support our customers.
“When it comes to Thorough Examination, many people don’t realise that both the fork lift hirer and the hire company have legal responsibilities – or that there is great variation in how different people examine trucks.
“CFTS Thorough Examinations allow us to take away any such worries and provide customers with the information and documentation they need. 4hire is delighted to have achieved CFTS accreditation, which demonstrates our commitment to meeting the necessary high standards.
“UK businesses have long recognised and enjoyed the extra reassurance of the CFTS mark and we want nothing less for our customers in Jersey.”For further information on 4hire visit www.4groupci.com.
CFTS appoints new Technical Manager
CFTS’ game-changing Thorough Examination scheme, which has grown every year since its inception 11 years ago, has introduced another industry expert to its technical team.
Matthew Kennedy has stepped into the post of Technical Manager (South), motivated by his genuine belief in the scheme – evidenced by the fact that the company he ran prior to joining CFTS was highly successful in delivering the scheme.
“There is no doubt that CFTS has done a remarkable job in raising awareness of the need for Thorough Examination and making employers cognizant of their responsibilities,” said Mr Kennedy.
“Because CFTS Thorough Examination was developed by the industry, for the industry, it offers truck users a clear, consistent, safe national standard that is specifically designed to fulfil the requirements of both LOLER and PUWER.”
Impressed by the peace of mind the scheme gave his clients, when the opportunity to join the organisation came along Matthew took it.
He explains: “CFTS is highly regarded for the quality of its technical support and I am delighted to be in a position where I can work alongside the hundreds of companies accredited to the CFTS scheme throughout the UK and beyond. I look forward to working with them to expand the scheme even further.”
An engineer for more than three decades, Matthew has spent more than 20 years in the materials handling sector. He will be working alongside Shaun Prendergast – Technical Manager (North) – who welcomed Matthew to the organisation.Shaun said: “Matthew brings with him a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise that will help us to drive CFTS forward and make the CFTS kite-mark the standard for excellence in the Thorough Examination of materials handling equipment.”
FLTA Award recognises CFTS pioneer
FLTA Award recognises CFTS pioneer
Chas Day honoured for services to fork lift truck industry
At its Annual Awards for Excellence, the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) awarded its prestigious 'Services to the Industry Award' to Chas Day of Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS).
Technical Manager Chas, who has been with CFTS since its inception more than 10 years ago, was instrumental in the development and launch of the UK’s first national standard for the Thorough Examination of lift trucks. Today, the nationwide organisation boasts more than 400 accredited companies.
FLTA Chief Executive Peter Harvey said: "Chas came to the fork truck industry having enjoyed a highly successful career in the aerospace industry. Their loss was our gain as he brought with him an encyclopaedic knowledge of engineering.
"The CFTS Thorough Examination is one of the most important safety initiatives in the history of the industry, used by companies covering the length and breadth of the country – most of whom consider Chas both a friend and mentor."
Developed by the industry, for the industry, CFTS Thorough Examinations embrace both LOLER and PUWER regulations for a comprehensive Thorough Examination.
Available nationally, the CFTS Thorough Examination standard covers safety-critical parts such as brakes and steering (under PUWER), as well as chains and forks (under LOLER).
Chas, who retires this month, said: "It is a great honour to receive this award, and I am humbled to receive it among so many other worthy recipients. This award is for every one of our member companies that have made CFTS such a success.
"Over the past decade, I have endeavoured to develop and promote CFTS Thorough Examinations and I am genuinely proud of what we have achieved.
"The CFTS marque is recognised nationwide as an indicator of quality. To have my contributions to the industry recognised by the FLTA really does end my career on a high."
CFTS Thorough Examinations impress Manitou
CFTS Thorough Examinations impress Manitou
Recognising the important benefits of full Thorough Examination, materials handling equipment manufacturer Manitou has chosen to become accredited to Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS).
Established more than 10 years ago, CFTS has developed a comprehensive procedure and strict code of practice for Thorough Examination – giving lift truck users a consistent, safe national standard which fulfils the requirements of both LOLER 1998 and PUWER 1998.
For Manitou Group Area Product Support Engineer Gregg Hampshire, the decision to work to the CFTS standard was a natural decision: "There’s no single piece of legislation out there governing telescopic handler and fork lift truck operations, so the rules about Thorough Examination are open to interpretation.
"For truck users, this can mean that what’s checked on their truck can vary depending on who they choose for their provider."
CFTS Thorough Examinations are unique in that they’ve been developed by the industry – for the industry. As a result, the CFTS inspection checklist is comprehensive and very specific – leaving no room for interpretation which can leave customers exposed to risk.
"For our customers, this means that they can be assured that their trucks have undergone a thorough Thorough Examination by a Competent Person who has been specifically trained to work to the high standards demanded by CFTS."
Welcoming Manitou, CFTS Chairman Mike Mathias said: “In becoming accredited, Manitou has demonstrated its commitment to raising telescopic handler and fork lift safety standards. "Most recently, the company has implemented a sophisticated training programme across their dealerships. As well as ensuring their Competent Persons and Thorough Examinations are up to the marque, this represents a significant step forward for CFTS and industry safety in the UK."
Crown MD joins CFTS Board
Consolidated Fork Truck Services welcomes Steve Stewart
Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) – the body responsible for developing and administering the materials handling industry’s national accreditation scheme for Thorough Examination – has appointed Steve Stewart, Crown Lift Trucks’ Managing Director of UK Operations, to its board.
Chairman of CFTS, Mike Mathias, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Steve onto the Board. With more than 20 years of experience in the materials handling industry, and as the former President of the Australian Industrial Truck Association, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise. He will be a strong addition to the Board.”
Steve Stewart also sits on the board of BITA (British Industrial Truck Association), which, in collaboration with the FLTA (Fork Lift Truck Association) established CFTS (Consolidated Fork Truck Services) more than a decade ago.
He said: “It’s a privilege to be appointed to the board. CFTS plays a vital role within the materials handling industry, and is instrumental in ensuring forklifts are safe to operate.”
While LOLER-only Thorough Examinations may focus solely on a truck’s lifting parts, CFTS-accredited Thorough Examinations have been developed to meet the high standards set out by LOLER 98 and PUWER 98 – ensuring the safety of the whole vehicle.
CFTS seeks Technical Manager
Thorough Examination experts recruiting in South of England
Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) is now advertising for a new Technical Manager to head up its South of England operations.
CFTS is responsible for developing and administering a national accreditation scheme for the Thorough Examination of fork lift truck vehicles.
The organisation plays a vital role in the UK materials handling industry ensuring fork lift trucks are safe to operate according to both LOLER and PUWER statutory regulations.
Mike Mathias, Chair of CFTS, said: “We are ideally looking for a highly experienced fork lift truck technician who has a detailed knowledge of a broad range of lift trucks.
“The successful applicant is likely to hold a HNC, HND or engineering degree (or equivalent) and must be well-versed in current lift truck legislation and best practice.
“The position will involve assessing and inspecting current and prospective CFTS-accredited companies and will focus on the South of England.
“Candidates should be able to work on their own initiative and possess very good interpersonal skills as s/he will be liaising with both senior managers and junior engineers.”
The CFTS scheme plays a pivotal role in the safe examination and inspection of fork lift trucks; 10 years ago there was no common standard for this vital and legally required safety procedure.
Individual inspectors could decide for themselves what aspects of a fork lift truck should be covered and how rigorous each examination should be.
Thanks to CFTS, the UK materials handling industry has a single, comprehensive, consistently high-quality Thorough Examination that covers the legal requirements of both LOLER and PUWER.
There are now more than 400 fork lift truck companies accredited to the scheme, allowing customers, wherever they are in the UK, to benefit from the peace of mind that comes with the CFTS ‘kite’ certification mark.
Interested parties are invited to apply with a full CV in confidence to James Clark, CFTS, 5-7 High Street. Sunninghill, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 9NQ, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meat company fined for failing to carry out Thorough Examinations
Following news that a North London meat company has been fined for failing to carry out routine inspections, Mike Mathias of CFTS – the national body for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks – has warned that there could be many thousands of trucks operating illegally.
MIB United Meat Ltd, of Enfield, Middlesex, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after admitting three breaches of safety legislation.
The court heard that, on asking to see the vehicle examination records for the company’s 2.5-tonne counterbalance forklift truck, an HSE inspector received a document via email which proved to be a fraud.
HSE found that the fork lift truck had never been examined – as required by safety rules for lifting equipment – since being purchased in August 2011.
A specialist mechanical inspector from HSE, who examined the fork truck in April 2013, found more than 40 faults, including some that could have endangered its operator.
MIB was fined a total of £18,000 and ordered to pay £2,314 in full costs.
But, according to CFTS, this infringement could simply be the tip of the iceberg – with well in excess of 300,000 masted fork lift trucks believed to be in current operation.
CFTS Chairman Mike Mathias explained: “Although shocking, this case is not as exceptional as it should be. There are many truck operators who are unaware of their responsibilities.”
According to the HSE, "Thorough examination of industrial lift trucks is required under health and safety law: LOLER 1998, which covers lifting equipment, and PUWER 1998, which deals with all other safety-related items, such as brakes, steering and tyres.”
Mr Mathias adds: “Just like a car’s MOT, every fork truck needs a Thorough Examination at least every 12 months – and it could be even more frequent depending on the type of truck and the individual application.
“I would urge anyone who is unsure of their position to visit the CFTS website where they can find out which parts of the fork lift truck should be inspected and how often a Thorough Examination is necessary.
"In addition, they can find out where to get further advice from CFTS-accredited companies in their area.”
Responsibility for Thorough Examination
CFTS lends support to managers and supervisors following L117 update
Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) is urging managers and supervisors to be vigilant when it comes to Thorough Examination.
As the body responsible for the fork lift truck industry’s national accreditation scheme and standards in relation to Thorough Examination, CFTS is also drawing attention to the latest official guidelines following a spate of management prosecutions.
CFTS Chairman Mike Mathias explains: “In the Health and Safety Executive’s updated fork lift truck safety guidance document, management’s duty to ensure a safe working environment is highlighted.
“Thorough Examination is one of the areas of responsibility specifically covered by the revised documentation.”
Entitled “Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training and safe use, Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (L117)”, the guidance clarifies what is expected of those in charge of operations and work sites.
“There is a serious risk of prosecution for those who fail to meet the required safety standards. In addition, managers and supervisors may also find their companies subject to fees which the HSE can charge, under recently granted powers, for its intervention to resolve material breaches of the law.”
To help managers and supervisors avoid this situation with their Thorough Examination, contains clear and concise advice, as well as a member finder app which signposts visitors to CFTS accredited companies in their area.
“These specialists are fully equipped to advise fork lift truck users on any issue related to their Thorough Examination obligations,” said Mike Mathias.
“Better still, if you choose to obtain your Thorough Examinations through a CFTS-accredited company – and there are more than 400 of them UK-wide – you can be sure of consistently high standards of inspection and ongoing support, which will make Thorough Examination much less of a worry.”
Toyota chief to head CFTS
Thorough Examination body appoints Mike Mathias as new Chairman
Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) has announced the appointment of Mike Mathias, of Toyota Material Handling UK, as its new Chairman. He takes over from Richard Hayes of Brindley Lift Trucks, whose two-year term of office has seen continued growth and success.
CFTS will be ten years old this year and Mike Mathias is keen to highlight what has been achieved in that time.
"It’s worth reminding ourselves that ten years ago there was no common standard for this vital and legally required safety procedure. Individual inspectors could decide for themselves what aspects of a fork lift truck should be covered and how rigorous the examination should be.
"Thanks to CFTS we can offer comprehensive, consistently high-quality Thorough Examinations that cover the requirements of both LOLER and PUWER, developed specifically for fork lift trucks and backed by a strict code of practice.
"We now have more than 400 companies accredited to the scheme, allowing customers, wherever they are in the UK, to benefit from the peace of mind that comes with the CFTS ‘kite’ certification mark.
"Since that launch our commitment to increasing user awareness of the need for high standards in Thorough Examination, and to supporting accredited companies with expert advice and training, has gone from strength to strength.
"Increasingly our emphasis has been on making advice and guidance available to those responsible for fork lift trucks online… and to that end I would encourage everyone to explore the CFTS website in more detail to take advantage of this advice."
Toyota Material Handling UK, for which Mike has been Managing Director since 2007, is a keen advocate and national provider of CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination. Mike also holds managerial roles with Toyota in The Netherlands, Belgium and Poland.
He brings with him a wealth of materials handling industry experience spanning almost four decades. Having started out as an engineering apprentice, his extensive knowledge has been built through a wealth of service, technical, sales, aftersales and management positions.
As well as being a Board Member of CFTS, he is a Director of BITA (British Industrial Truck Association), which joined forces with the FLTA to create CFTS.
See both sides of the Thorough Examination story
CFTS leaflet explains conflicting approaches to forklift safety inspections
A simple laminated leaflet, created to help fork lift engineers and competent persons explain the importance of a truly Thorough Examination has needed to be reprinted – because so many operators, owners and users of fork lift trucks asked to keep it!
Originally, Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) distributed the information to its 425 accredited member companies to act as a talking point with customers. However, following an enthusiastic response, it will be made available more widely.
The two opposing sides of the double-sided laminated leaflet are designed to clearly illustrate the difference between a LOLER-only Thorough Examination, which focuses on the lifting parts of the truck, and the CFTS approach, which ensures the whole vehicle is safe to use.
CFTS Chairman Richard Hayes said: “Research shows most fork lift owners and operators of fork lift trucks simply assume their regular Thorough Examination has checked the whole truck.
“This could lead to a potentially unsafe situation as it may mean the brakes, the tyres, the counterbalance fittings – in fact, over a dozen vital safety aspects – never get checked.
“Ironically, although Thorough Examination is set out in LOLER 98, that failure to ensure the whole truck is safe could land you in trouble under PUWER 98.
“This leaflet is great, because it makes it really clear: one side shows what's covered as a bare minimum legal LOLER 98 Thorough Examination. The other shows the standard CFTS checks. It really speaks for itself.
“We thought the laminated leaflet would be useful for competent persons, to show why Thorough Examination isn't something you can rush. But managers have asked to keep them so many times, we've had to print more!”
For more information on the CFTS standard for Thorough Examination, check out the interactive guide on this website, here.
Mike Mathias Joins CFTS Board
Toyota Material Handling UK Managing Director is Appointed to the Board
CFTS welcome Mike Mathias, of Toyota Material Handling UK, to its Board and acknowledge Toyota’s campaigning support.
CFTS Chairman Richard Hayes says: “Over the past couple of years, Toyota, who is a national provider of Thorough Examination, has been particularly active in raising awareness of the important safety and legal issues surrounding Thorough Examination.
“Its efforts have included contacting truck owners, designing supporting literature and generally taking every opportunity to educate truck users on why CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination is the safe choice. Further still, Toyota team members have reinforced the message by wearing CFTS-branded hi-vis vests promoting Toyota Thorough Examination.”
Managing Director of Toyota Material Handling UK since 2007, Mike Mathias has nearly four decades of experience in the materials handling industry. Since starting out as an engineering apprentice, his extensive knowledge has been built up through working in a variety of service, technical, sales, after sales and management roles.
In addition to his UK role, Mike is Chairman of Toyota Material Handling Netherlands and Belgium, and a Director for Toyota Material Handling Poland.
He is also a Director of BITA (British Industrial Truck Association), which in collaboration with the FLTA (Fork Lift Truck Association) set up CFTS (Consolidated Fork Truck Services) to establish the industry’s Thorough Examination procedure and administer its accreditation scheme.
HSE clamps down on inspection and maintenance dodgers
Following news of the HSE’s latest prosecution against an employer operating a fork lift truck with infringements under LOLER and PUWER, an industry expert has urged users to think twice before delaying inspections and maintenance.
Hearing news of the HSE’s second successful prosecution this year, Richard Hayes, Chairman of CFTS, the delivery body for the UK’s national standard for the thorough inspection of fork trucks said: “Ignoring this legal and moral duty is not a good policy for your industrial equipment and, furthermore, it’s not legal – as a number of fork lift truck users have found to their cost this year.”
In the most recent case, involving an Essex-based steel fabrication firm, HSE investigators found that the company’s fork lift had not had a Thorough Examination for more than 12 months. Furthermore, it had been kept in continuous use – despite showing obvious signs of disrepair.
The HSE’s report revealed that no fewer than 18 of the 24 key items examined on the truck required urgent repair. Defects included: worn-out tyres, loose counterweight and non-functioning lamps and beacons.
CFTS, which administers the fork lift truck industry’s own national Thorough Examination accreditation scheme, points out that not all inspections offered to fork lift users would have picked up on these issues.
“Due to the nature of their design, fork lift trucks are covered by two separate pieces of legislation – each of which has its own testing criteria,” explains Richard.
“The parts comprising a truck’s lifting mechanism are covered separately by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 98, which requires a Thorough Examination of all lifting apparatus at least once every 12 months.
“Under the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 98, employers must ensure that safety-critical parts such as those cited by the HSE report undergo regular, recorded safety inspections.
“A LOLER-only inspection would have picked up defects in lifting components such as forks and chains but would not have checked vital aspects covered by PUWER – such as brakes, steering and safety equipment,” explained Richard, “and the majority of companies are still carrying out LOLER-only inspections.
“To be certain of full legal compliance, we recommend CFTS-accredited Thorough Examinations – which have been developed by the fork lift industry itself with the support of HSE… to meet the Thorough Examination demands of LOLER and the Safety Inspection requirements of PUWER.”
The company was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,238 in costs for putting its workers at risk through breaches of LOLER 1998 and PUWER 1998.
“Sadly, this is not an isolated case,” said Richard. “Earlier this year a slate and stone supplier was fined for breaching PUWER. Once again, courts heard that the company’s practice had been to repair only in response to breakdowns.”
HSE investigators reported that the truck had not been properly maintained and that the two sets of bearings holding the forks in line had collapsed.“Routine maintenance is essential to maximising your truck’s lifespan and efficiency, and it can help to highlight potentially dangerous faults. However, users should be clear that a comprehensive Thorough Examination – which checks the truck in accordance to LOLER and PUWER – is something they need in addition to maintenance. Just as a car needs an MOT test and a routine service, you must have both.”
Company fined for dangerous lifting equipment
The Health & Safety Executive has fined an Essex construction company for putting workers at risk by neglecting to check and maintain a potentially dangerous piece of lifting equipment.
In April, Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard that a forklift truck belonging to Aveley Construction Ltd was heavily used at the company’s South Ockendon premises for more than 12 months without any kind of thorough examination.
It is a legal requirement to check such equipment at least once a year, yet the truck, used to move heavy steel fabrications, was kept in continuous use for well over a year despite showing obvious signs of disrepair.
Magistrates were told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out on 23 June 2011 found that when the truck was eventually examined only six items out of 24 that formed the basis of the report were marked "satisfactory". The remaining 18 items were classed as "repair needed".
Defects included worn out tyres, flashing beacons and lamps not working and a loose counter-weight.
The company was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,238 in costs after admitting single breaches of the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Read the full story at HSE.gov.uk
Are you SURE your fork lift's Thorough Examination has you fully covered?
You wouldn’t wear half a suit… but every year thousands of companies get stitched up anyway by accepting half a Thorough Examination of their fork lift trucks, according to research from Consolidated Fork Truck Services – the body behind the industry’s Thorough Examination standard.
This year's IMHX (Hall 19 - Stand H74) will see the launch of a major, national campaign warning fork lift truck managers of the dangers of so-called “Thorough” Examinations that only cover a truck's lifting parts and promises to use surprise tactics to shock managers out of their complacency.
According to CFTS, many examinations still only test a fork lift truck's lifting components, neglecting safety-critical parts like steering and brakes.
It is hoped the eye-catching “half measures” campaign will capture companies' attention, after CFTS research showed that the majority of managers are completely unaware of this widespread threat.
CFTS believes the problem, which affects tens of thousands of sites, to be particularly prevalent where Thorough Examination is arranged as part of an annual insurance inspection.
Technically, inspecting lifting parts only does fulfil minimum obligations under LOLER 98 lifting regulations. However, companies remain open to prosecution under PUWER 98 rules if the vehicle as a whole is found to be unsafe.
CFTS is the national Thorough Examination standard that covers the entire fork lift truck.
“Just because you've had a so-called Thorough Examination, doesn't mean your fork lift truck is safe,” says CFTS Chairman Richard Hayes. “Managers need to be on top of what's being checked and – crucially – what isn't. Because it's you who's liable.
“Ask yourself: is it fair to ask your colleagues to operate a two, three, four-tonne truck where the tyres or the brakes haven't been tested? No, of course not.
“That's why it's essential to insist on a CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination. It's the national standard guaranteed to test the whole truck.
“It’s the positive way to be sure you're covered for both LOLER and PUWER, and, ultimately, that the truck really is safe to use.”
CFTS's “Half Measures” campaign will be launched at IMHX 2013 - Hall 19 Stand H74
Used trucks: know the risks
Two recent rogue trading horror stories have highlighted the dangers of buying secondhand fork lift trucks online… and the absolute need to make sure any fork lift you buy has a current Report of Thorough Examination.
The truck pictured here, which was bought from an online trader at a ‘bargain’ price, proved to be unfit for purpose. Aside from some very obvious physical defects, it also struggled to start from cold and clearly had not received a service for some time.
Seeking to return the truck and recover his deposit, which amounted to half of the asking price, the new owner was told by the dealer that only an eighth of it would be refundable. The rest would be used to pay for transport and labour costs relating to a mast swap he had requested.
The customer’s local Trading Standards department advised him to contact CFTS (Consolidated Fork Truck Services) for advice. A CFTS inspection revealed a catalogue of serious faults.
The truck would certainly have failed the legally obligatory Thorough Examination and – as you will probably have guessed – was sold without a Report of Thorough Examination.
In another case, reported by the Fork Lift Truck Association, a truck condemned and sent off for scrap by an FLTA member was subsequently resurrected by an online trader and sold as ‘refurbished’ and in ‘as new condition’. Needless to say, it soon stopped working.
Again, the truck was sold without a valid Report of Thorough Examination or a warranty.
“Ask yourself whether you would buy a secondhand car without a current MOT,” says CFTS Chairman Richard Hayes. “There is no guarantee that any car will continue to run perfectly, but an MOT gives at least some assurance of its condition. The same can be said, but even more so, for a fork lift truck and its Report of Thorough Examination.
“Buying online requires special caution. Do you know anything about the company and its reputation? Does it belong to a trade association with a strict code of practice? Will the truck be supplied with a warranty and a valid Report of Thorough Examination?
“In fact, insisting on a current Report of Thorough Examination is not just a sensible precaution – it’s a legal obligation. Whenever you take possession of a fork lift truck, or receive one under any kind of lease, hire or loan arrangement, you are responsible for ensuring that it has this vital document. My advice would be to demand a Report of Thorough Examination for the date the transaction is completed.”
HSE fines company for poorly maintained forklift
On 28 May 2010, HSE found that a forklift at Traditional Slate and Stone Supplies of Horbury Bridge had not been properly maintained and that two sets of bearings holding the forks in line had collapsed. This put employees working around the forklift in danger.
At Wakefield Magistrates Court, 9 January 2013, the company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,138 in costs after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Neil Hope-Collins said: "This shows the potential dangers of relying solely on fixing things when they go wrong. All machinery should be maintained regularly to ensure it is safe to work with and near. That means looking for signs of wear and tear before they lead to an accident."
Story from HSE.
CFTS strengthens technical team
To keep up with continued growth in demand for CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination services, Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) has appointed a new assistant technical manager, Shaun Prendergast.
Shaun arrives at CFTS – the organisation which runs the fork lift truck industry’s only national accreditation scheme for Thorough Examination – with more than three decades of engineering experience.
Shaun began his career serving HM Forces in the UK and abroad. As part of the Specialist Team Royal Engineers, he was involved in undertaking vital engineering work: from repairing airfields in the Falkland Islands to working on bridges in Sierra Leone.
Upon completing his military service in 1992, as a Corporal in the Plant Troop within the Corps of Royal Engineers, he began working in the materials handling industry. For the past 19 years, Shaun has worked as service manager for a mainstream dealer.
Welcoming Shaun, CFTS chairman Richard Hayes said: “Shaun brings with him the technical expertise and hands-on industry experience necessary to advise – with authority – on this highly complex subject.
“His understanding of the key issues affecting companies accredited to the CFTS scheme and their customers is as comprehensive as a CFTS Thorough Examination itself.”
Working alongside CFTS technical manager Chas Day, Shaun will have specific responsibility for the Midlands, North of England and Scotland.
Shaun said: “The number of CFTS accredited companies is continually growing – which, in turn, is clear proof of the success of the scheme. As a result, there are very many valuable members in these regions and I hope to have the opportunity to meet them all in the weeks and months ahead. It’s a large area to cover, but eventually I will visit each and every one.”
84% of employers uncertain of Thorough Examination responsibilities
With a continuing rise in the number of companies renting fork lift trucks, industry experts have raised concerns that uncertainty over who exactly is responsible for Thorough Examinations could be placing managers and directors at the risk of prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.
Nationwide research carried out on behalf of Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) has revealed that 84% of supervisors and managers surveyed incorrectly hold their materials handling provider at least partially accountable for ensuring their truck holds a current Report of Thorough Examination.
Worryingly, 30% of respondents, who oversee operations of one or more fork lift trucks, believed that their service provider – as the truck’s owner – would be solely responsible for this essential task. Again, this is not the case.
According to CFTS Chairman Richard Hayes, “Whether a fork lift truck is owned or on hire, users and fleet owners should be fully aware of their responsibilities. Knowing that any user is unclear about this subject indicates that they are being inappropriately advised, if at all.”
“Under Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), the employer of a fork lift truck operator has a duty of care to make sure that a fork lift truck in use is safe. When that truck is owned by the employer, the implication of this duty is clear. The employer must arrange a regular Thorough Examination schedule appropriate to the truck and its use.
“Hirers have a duty to ensure that their lift trucks are safe for their employees to use and are thoroughly examined at the appropriate intervals. It is important for both the hire company and the hirer to establish which party will carry out safety-related maintenance and Thorough Examinations. Hirers need to ensure that necessary inspections and pre-use checks are carried out and defects reported and remedied as necessary.
“However, it is important to note that when a truck is leased or rented on a long-term basis, this responsibility remains with the employer of the driver. He or she must make certain that a current and valid Thorough Examination Certificate is in place and available for inspection. Any change to this, making the maintenance service provider responsible, should be included in the maintenance contract.
“In cases where a truck is rented for less than one year, although the rental company is responsible for arranging Thorough Examination (as the owners of the equipment), the employer of the operator must still satisfy him or herself that the truck is legally compliant. Usually this means insisting on having a copy of the Report of Thorough Examination included with the rental documentation.”
There is a requirement under PUWER 98 for all work equipment to be regularly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and under LOLER 98 for lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined to ensure it remains in a safe condition.
Fork lift truck users should ensure that their lift trucks have been thoroughly examined by a Competent Person within the previous 12 months (or sooner depending on the operational conditions).
CFTS appoints new chairman
Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) – the body responsible for developing and administering the materials handling industry’s national accreditation scheme for Thorough Examination – has appointed Richard Hayes as its new chairman.
Managing Director of Brindley Lift Trucks and Chairman of the Fork Lift Truck Association Technical Committee, Hayes is a well-respected figure in the materials handling industry, with more than 30 years experience in the sector.
Hayes succeeds Simon Emery of Crown Lift Trucks, who held the position for two successful years.
Established through a collaboration between The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), the two leading bodies in the fork lift truck industry with the support of HSE, CFTS is the only nationally recognised Thorough Examination scheme that meets the requirements of both LOLER and PUWER.
Speaking after his appointment Mr Hayes said: “Now in its tenth year, this organisation continues to go from strength to strength because it delivers exactly what truck owners require to comply with current legislation.
“Despite tough trading conditions in recent years, CFTS has achieved continuous growth to a position where more than 400 companies throughout the UK are currently accredited to the scheme – so no business is far from a nationally accredited company.
“This has been achieved by ensuring the highest standards of training and technical support to those accredited companies and the gold standard in Thorough Examinations to managers and directors responsible for owning and operating trucks.
Story from Forklift-Driver.
Faulty reversing alarm partly to blame for accident
Story from Handling & Storage Solutions.
CFTS searches for assistant technical manager
When an organisation has been set up specifically to enforce high quality standards, you can be sure that recruitment of its staff will be a rigorous process.
Consolidated Fork Truck Services is currently seeking an assistant technical manager who can meet its very demanding criteria.
The new post has become necessary because of rapid growth in CFTS membership and activity in the ten years since its 2002 launch. To date, more than 400 companies have been accredited to deliver CFTS Thorough Examinations – and the number has continued to rise, despite the recession.
Working with CFTS technical manager Chas Day, the duties of the successful applicant will include assessing accredited companies and providing specialist advice on all matters relating to Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks.
CFTS Chairman Simon Emery says: "We’re looking for another very special person. As well as having the necessary qualifications, knowledge and experience to be able to advise with authority on this highly complex subject, we need someone who can relate well to company staff at every level. Our checklist for the successful candidate will be as comprehensive as the CFTS code of practice."
The assistant technical manager will hold specific responsibility for the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland.
Nine out of Ten Forklift Users CAN be wrong
Survey reveals that 93% of owners “make wrong assumptions” over what is covered by Thorough Examination
A survey among companies owning and operating fork lift trucks has found that most Thorough Examinations do not meet user expectations. Indeed, a clear majority are confused by what exactly is included… and who is responsible for making sure a truck conforms to legal requirements.
The survey – conducted by Consolidated Fork Truck Services – involved telephone interviews with truck users throughout the UK extending across a broad cross-section of industrial classifications and fleet sizes in order to ensure a representative sample.
On the positive side the research confirmed that a concerted campaign has had a dramatic impact on awareness of Thorough Examination. When asked, in a previous (2005) survey, whether Thorough Examination was a legal requirement or merely “good practice”, around half (54%) answered correctly. Today, that number has risen to an impressive 76%.
Unfortunately, behind that headline figure there remains considerable confusion regarding what is actually included within a Thorough Examination. As a result, many tens of thousands of managers and directors may be responsible for equipment that simply isn’t being examined as thoroughly as they had anticipated…
Most strikingly, the vast majority of respondents – 93% – incorrectly assumed that any Thorough Examination would automatically include an inspection of their truck’s brakes as a matter of course.
According to Simon Emery, Chairman of CFTS, the body which commissioned the research, “The confusion arises because, unlike the MOT on a car, the requirements of a Thorough Examination are open to interpretation. In effect, the body providing the inspection is able to decide what should and shouldn’t be included. The nub of the problem is that the inspection of fork lift trucks is governed by two separate pieces of legislation: Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98). However, an alarming number of inspectors only include those items covered by LOLER – such as mast, chains and forks – within their inspection. In doing so they totally ignore crucial areas such as overhead guards, steering, brakes and other vital components… As a result, managers and directors responsible for fork lift trucks may fall foul of PUWER 98 legislation on ensuring the suitability of workplace equipment.”
It was to overcome this clearly untenable situation that the two leading organisations in the fork lift truck industry – the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), with the support of the HSE – joined forces to create a single, national procedure available to truck users, wherever their industry or location.
The result is a comprehensive procedure and strict code of practice, a programme of engineer and management training and the mechanism to monitor standards under the CFTS brand name. Companies accredited to the scheme – and there are around 400 of them covering the length and breadth of the UK – can be identified via the distinctive “kite” certification mark.
“Customers need to be aware that all Thorough Examinations are not the same. Some are more thorough than others. My advice to those responsible for the upkeep of fork lift trucks should seek clarification on exactly what is being inspected – or they will get less than they bargained for….
They can do that by taking advantage of an interactive online tool that clearly identifies which parts of a fork lift truck are covered by LOLER, and which by PUWER using our interactive guide."
Farmer crushed after braking malfunction
CFTS engineer halts potential killer
Industry experts have voiced their concerns over the validity of some Thorough Examinations following the discovery of a fork lift truck which was given a clean bill of health by an inspector – despite the presence of serious structural damage.
Just weeks later, the truck’s poor state of repair, which rendered the truck unsafe and unlawful, was discovered during a routine service carried out by an experienced fork lift truck engineer who, fortunately for the customer, happened to be qualified as a Competent Person for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks under a scheme developed by the industry’s own experts.
The watchful engineer quickly identified visible damage to the truck’s overhead guard which could have compromised protection against falling objects such as laden pallets displaced at height. As a result of further investigation he also identified hitherto unnoticed cracks to both the chassis and the carriage. Moreover, because he was so knowledgeable about fork trucks the service engineer also identified the cause of the damage to the overhead guard: apparently it was being used as an anchor point for towing a 7.5 tonne lorry!
“For the stress to have caused this damage to the guard it is quite likely that other structural damage will have been done to the fork lift truck, some of which may put the operator at even greater risk explains Chas Day, technical manager of CFTS, which administers the scheme to which the vigilant engineer is accredited. “Yet the owner of the truck was completely unaware of any problems.
“Having been told that his truck had passed its Thorough Examination he would, quite naturally, have expected it to be operating safely and legally. However, the extent of damage to this particular truck meant it was a potential killer – and almost certainly unlawful.”
“The reason this went unnoticed is that under some inspections – including the original one undertaken on this particular truck – only those items covered under LOLER 98 legislation such as mast, chains and forks) are checked. In the view of CFTS and most experienced fork truck specialists that really is literally doing just half the job. How can anyone claim to have properly inspected a truck for safety when those items that come under PUWER 98 – such as overhead guards… steering… even brakes are simply ignored.”
“It was to create a rigorous and truly comprehensive inspection procedure that CFTS was created by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) in co-operation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It is our belief that safety must never be compromised. There cannot ever be any half measures.”
“Indeed, the issue goes further than this. If the culture at the operator’s site allows or even encourages this sort of action then what other risks are being taken? A properly conducted Thorough Examination – carried out by a specialist rather than a generalist – can help to highlight a variety of dangerous operational activities. As a result, the truck owner benefits from added value by using a CFTS accredited company with a competent person who knows and understands fork lift trucks.
“I would urge any director or manager who is responsible for fork lift trucks to ensure they comply fully with the law. Our website http://www.thoroughexamination.org/ answers many frequently asked questions and features a very clear video that gives a useful overview of what is involved in a CFTS Thorough Examination.”
Chain Wear Gauge giveaway marks 25 year milestone
To mark its 25th anniversary which it celebrates this year, FB Chain has a number of limited edition 'gold' professional Chain Wear Gauges to give away.
Chain wear gauges are used by engineers and technicians to track chain wear when servicing all types of chain driven equipment from conveyors to forklift trucks and anything in between.
If a chain is shown to have worn excessively it must be replaced.
Designed to overcome the significant problems encountered when attempting to accurately measure a chain for wear, the Chain Wear Gauge's patented design incorporates an easily read scale that enables chain elongation - the most common cause of chain failure - to be measured to within one quarter of one percent.
FB Chain's gauge is widely recognised as the most accurate, reliable and simple to use tool of its kind on the market and is the product recommended by Chas Day of Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) - the joint venture between the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) .
Chas Day, who is an acknowledged expert on the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks in the UK, comments: ""Most chain wear gauges only tell you if a chain is worn or not worn. Using the FB chain wear gauge makes it easy to decide if a chain could be dangerously worn out before the next service, leading to the equipment being operated hazardously. Whenever I have a Thorough Examination manager's course I always recommend that the best chain gauge for the engineers to use is the FB gauge. I consider the FB chain gauge to be the industry standard and, as such, all of the 340 CFTS member companies use the FB Gauge"
FB Chain Wear Gauges have been sold in over 40 countries throughout the world since the instrument was first launched.
Peter Church, managing director of FB Chain Ltd, comments: "Checking a lift truck's chain for wear is essential because excessively worn chains can be lethal. There is no better precision tool on the market for monitoring chain wear than our gauge, which is why, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our company we are delighted to be able to offer the chance to win a limited edition 'gold' gauge."
Canterbury firm fined following death of employee
The family of a man crushed by a forklift truck bucket say his death has torn their lives apart.
The father and son of Darren Baker were speaking after scrap metal firm Ling Metals were fined £200,000 for failing to prevent his death.
Dad-of-three Darren, from Thanington, died in 2007 after a one-ton bucket full of crumbled rubber fell on his head.
The machine's health and safety certificate had expired and Ling Metals had ignored warnings from an engineer four days before.
Brother Stuart, 36, said: "Our lives have been torn apart. I've seen my father and mother in pieces for the last three years and I've had a nervous breakdown.
"Darren's daughter Lily was just nine months old when he died - just a baby.
"He'd always wanted a little girl but now she has to grow up without a daddy.
"But still justice hasn't been done. Someone should be held accountable for causing my brother's death.
"If your car failed an MOT but you still went out and drove it and ended up killing someone, you'd be going to prison for a very long time.
"What's the difference here? It's absolutely disgusting."
Canterbury Crown Court heard Darren had been helping lay a surface for an outdoor riding area in Minster on March 19, 2007.
The bucket came down on his head after machine driver Gavin Lucas failed to use stabilisers to move a load of crumbled rubber and the forklift toppled over.
A safety alarm which should have warned Mr Lucas of the impending danger wasn't working.
Darren was airlifted to hospital but died two days later. The machine was used again before being checked or serviced.
A certificate of thorough examination had expired the previous month and the machine was in such a bad state an engineer was unable to complete repair work.
Ling Metals director Robin Ling was in court on Friday as the company was given six months to pay £200,000 in fines and £11,384 costs.
Read the HSE's comment on the investigation here.
Thorough Examination & Corporate Manslaughter
From HSD Guide:
When times are hard and cash flow is poor, it might become tempting to save a little time and money by delaying your truck’s next Thorough Examination. After all, nobody ever checks them, do they? asks Simon Emery, chairman of Consolidated Fork Truck Services.
Think again. The Corporate Manslaughter Act (CMA) makes it more important than ever before to ensure your fork lift trucks have valid Reports of Thorough Examination.
Imagine one of your operators loses control of his fork lift truck, striking high level racking, another operative or a member of the public. An enforcing investigator would want to see a copy of the Report of Thorough Examination for the truck involved – as well as all of your other trucks, and probably maintenance documents too. Could your fleet stand up to this sort of scrutiny?
Companies can now be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures amounting to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care.
Whether you buy your fork lift truck or hire it, long term or short term, you have a legal – and moral – responsibility to ensure it has a current Report of Thorough Examination. Users should never assume that someone else has taken care of that responsibility.
Counting the costs
Doing so could be an expensive mistake. Under the CMA, failure to comply with legislation could result in fines of up to 10 per cent of a firm’s annual turnover. While most large companies could withstand a financial hit of this size, its effects could be terminal for many small businesses.
The courts also hold the power to impose publicity orders, where a company must pay to advertise the details of the conviction. A sanction such as this would have a negative impact upon businesses of any size. Remedial orders can also be levied, which force a company to demonstrate that corrective measures have been taken within the organisation.
So, who is most at risk from prosecutions? While large corporations are not immune, it’s more likely for the directors and senior managers of small and medium-sized businesses to wind up in court. With hands-on and day-to-day involvement in their organisations, these individuals are easier to convict. What’s more, prosecutions of individuals are far more common than ever before – reflecting the political will to hold individuals accountable after any major incident.
Peace of mind
To be certain of complying fully with the law we recommend that you obtain your Thorough Examinations through companies accredited to the Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) Thorough Examination scheme.
CFTS was formed as a joint venture company between the UK fork lift truck industry’s two leading bodies: the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA).
Developed in close co-operation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the CFTS Thorough Examination scheme was specifically designed to address the special needs of fork lift trucks. The laws governing the use of fork lift trucks state that any machine over 12 months old – including hire trucks – must hold a current Report of Thorough Examination. Quite often, the time interval between Thorough Examinations may be six months or less.
Accredited companies benefit from the two trade bodies expert technical and legislative advice on the complex issues, such as those affecting the use of integrated and non-integrated working platforms (see item right). Under their stringent Procedural Code, these companies are obliged to provide:
• A report of Thorough Examination complying with LOLER 98 and PUWER 98.
• A 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 month and year when the next Thorough Examination is due.
CFTS criteria and procedures have been developed by the people who know
most about fork lift safety – the FLTA, BITA and the HSE. What’s more, this scheme is a dedicated one, designed to address the special needs of fork lift trucks, and not a general one that attempts to cover many different types of equipment.
More and more managers are discovering the real benefits of comprehensive inspection from CFTS, such as enhanced safety and greater productivity. To save them time and minimise confusion, our accredited company postcode search facility – available at http://www.thoroughexamination.org/ – is just like a CFTS Thorough Examination itself: easy to follow, clear and concise.
To immediately locate a CFTS accredited company in your area, simply enter your postcode and a search radius. The CFTS search engine will quickly deliver – in order of proximity – the full contact details of appropriate companies. Of course, you can also search for companies by name.
Since launching in 2004, more than 250 companies have been accredited to the CFTS Thorough Examination scheme. These firms cover the length and breadth of the UK: from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
Wherever you are, there is a CFTS accredited company close by – a company committed to the CFTS scheme’s standards, ready and willing to give you its dependable advice, expertise and high-quality service.
Lower your risk at height
Confusion surrounding the Thorough Examination of working platforms may be causing British businesses to fall foul of the law. At CFTS we receive a steady stream of queries from concerned fork lift truck users looking for guidance on their use.
First and foremost, fork lift trucks are designed to lift materials – not people. Working platforms, or man-up cages, allow personnel to work at height. Despite their simple design and deployment, it’s crucial to remember that working at height is a high-risk activity. Importantly, the onus is on the fork lift truck user to choose and maintain appropriate equipment to carry out operations safely.
There is a wide body of legislation on this subject. LOLER, PUWER, the EU Machinery Directive and the Health and Safety at Work Act each include regulations affecting the use of these vital pieces of equipment.
Current fork lift truck legislation requires that any machine over 12 months old must hold a current Report of Thorough Examination. On top of this, LOLER Regulation 9 sets out that lifting equipment used for the lifting of people, including fork lift trucks and working platforms used for working at height, must be thoroughly examined by a Competent Person at least once every six months. The most concise and up to date information is contained in HSE Guidance Note PM28, edition 3.
Vigilance during inspections is paramount. From the truck’s data plate to its safety harness, a Competent Person should thoroughly inspect your working platform to ensure compliance with the law. The Thorough Examination should include inspection of the fork lift truck and working platform combination as well as the individual attachment itself.
Forklift test black hole could compromise safety
From PressOn ShD:
The current Thorough Examination inspection for forklift trucks does not place sufficient emphasis on checking the chain that controls a truck’s lifting and lowering functions and, as a result, there is a “black hole” in forklift testing procedures that risks compromising forklift operating safety.
That is the view of Phil Taylor, managing director of leading manufacturer and supplier of leaf chain to the materials handling industry, FB Chain Ltd.
“All working forklifts are required to undertake a Thorough Examination every year. Like an MOT for a car, it is a detailed inspection of a truck’s safety related parts,” says Phil Taylor.
He continues: “At present, there is no requirement for the person carrying out the Thorough Examination to see a truck’s Chain Test Certificate – unless they believe that the incorrect chain has been fitted. However, with one forklift chain looking very much like another, it is difficult to detect an inadequate chain from a visual inspection alone. Which is why, in my view, a truck’s Chain Test Certificate should be checked and verified as part of the Thorough Examination inspection process.”
Historically, Chain Certificates were inspected as part of a forklift truck’s annual MOT-type check. However, this changed following the introduction of the CE Marking scheme and the Machinery Directive in the 1990s, as Phil Taylor explains:
“Before the introduction of the CE Mark – which is a truck buyer’s assurance that a forklift complies with European health, safety and environmental protection legislation – a truck user would receive all relevant test certificates from the manufacturer whenever a new forklift was acquired. This enabled anyone undertaking a forklift examination throughout the truck’s working life to easily check that, if a replacement chain had been fitted to the truck, it matched the specification of the original.
“However, since the arrival of the CE Mark, the truck manufacturer has simply issued a one-off compliance document to the user that covers everything – including the chain. This means that truck users no longer receive a Chain Test Certificate when they buy a new truck.”
To ensure that a replacement chain is appropriate for the truck it is intended for, Phil Taylor advises truck users to buy from a reputable and well established leaf chain manufacturer or go directly to the manufacturer who supplied the truck in the first place.
“We believe that there has been a big rise in sub-standard leaf chain entering the market in recent years and it is particularly important that truck users select their chain supplier carefully. If a lift truck chain is not adequate and breaks while in use, the Health & Safety Executive will be down on the truck user like a ton of bricks,” warns Phil Taylor.
All replacement forklift truck chains should be supplied with a Chain Test Certificate. The Certificates are issued by chain manufacturers and should show full details of the chain’s minimum breaking load and proof load applied (a test to demonstrate that the chain is capable of supporting at least one and a half times its safe working load weight).
“A forklift chain must be specified with a safe working load in excess of the lifting capacity of the truck it is fitted to,” says Phil Taylor. “And a chain’s suitability could be easily checked by the competent person carrying out a Thorough Examination if they were shown the test certificate but, at present, there is no legal requirement for this to happen.”
Typically, a forklift truck’s chain will last between three and five years before it has to be replaced due to wear and, like a truck’s tyres and forks, replacement chains are often not covered by service and maintenance packages.
Of the popular sizes of chain that it sells, FB Chain’s products are up to 30 per cent stronger than is required by the international standard which covers forklift chains.
Chas Day, technical manager for Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS), the leading provider of fork lift truck thorough examinations, is not quite so concerned. He told ShD, “It was HSE that removed this requirement, and they would have brought it back if there was a problem. Competent Persons working for CFTS accredited companies carry out a number of physical tests on the chains, as well as visual inspections, and they always have the option of asking to see a certificate if they are in any doubt. In any case, ensuring that a truck is fitted with the correct chain is the responsibility of the manufacturer or dealer. The Competent Person carrying out the thorough examination is responsible for ensuring that the chain that is fitted is safe for use.”
CFTS Accreditation Reaches 300
With just a few weeks to go until IMHX, Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) has announced that the number of companies accredited to deliver the UK’s only nationally agreed procedure for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks has surged past the 300 mark.
Revealing news of this new landmark, CFTS Chairman Simon Emery said: “For fork lift truck users, this means that – wherever your operations are based in the UK – there is a CFTS accredited company close at hand to help you ensure your fork lift trucks fully comply with the law.”
Under current legislation, every fork lift truck more than 12 months old must hold a current Report of Thorough Examination… and responsibility for compliance sits with the owner or user of that truck. Even if the truck is on hire, it is still the duty of the user to ensure that a Thorough Examination has been carried out within the correct timescales.
“Developed in close co-operation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the CFTS Thorough Examination scheme is widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive and robust inspection regime for fork lift trucks,” explains Mr Emery.
“The reason is quite simple. CFTS criteria and procedures have been developed by the people who know most about fork lift truck safety – the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) in conjunction with the HSE.
“It is this in-depth understanding of the specialist needs of fork lift trucks that sets this dedicated scheme apart. While other, more generalised programmes address the basic requirements of LOLER 98, the CFTS Thorough Examination procedure is exceptional in that it ensures full compliance with both PUWER 98 and LOLER 98 as they relate specifically to fork lift trucks. This removes the need for duplicate inspections and provides the user with genuine peace of mind.
“Companies accredited to CFTS adhere to a stringent Procedural Code which makes certain that uniformly high standards are maintained. Every firm accepted onto the scheme benefits from an ongoing and unparalleled level of support – including full access to expert technical back-up.”
To discover the real benefits of comprehensive inspection from CFTS, such as enhanced safety and greater productivity, use the CFTS accredited company search facility – available now at http://www.thoroughexamination.org/.
This newly created software is just like a CFTS examination itself: easy to follow, clear and concise. All visitors need to do is enter a postcode and search radius and the CFTS search engine will deliver – in order of proximity – the full contact details of appropriate companies.
A company search by name facility is also available for owners and operators of fork lift trucks who wish to confirm whether their current Thorough Examination provider has been accredited to CFTS.
CFTS guidance on Forklifts Working at Height
From Materials Handling World:
Leading fork lift truck industry figures have raised concerns that confusion surrounding working platforms may lead British businesses to fall foul of the law.
At Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS), the body responsible for developing and administering the industry's national accreditation scheme for Thorough Examination, a steady stream of queries from fork lift truck users looking for guidance on use of working platforms has prompted a public statement from CFTS Technical Manager Chas Day.
"Fork lift trucks are designed to lift materials - not people. Working platforms, or man-up cages, allow personnel to work at height. Despite their simple design and deployment, it's crucial to remember that working at height is a high-risk activity."
The laws governing the use of fork lift trucks state that any machine over 12 months old must hold a current Report of Thorough Examination. On top of this, LOLER Regulation 9 sets out that lifting equipment used for the lifting of people, including fork lift trucks and working platforms used for working at height, must be thoroughly examined by a Competent Person at least once every six months.
Companies accredited to the CFTS Thorough Examination Scheme benefit from the trade body's expert technical and legislative advice on the complex issues affecting the use of integrated and non-integrated working platforms. LOLER, PUWER, the EU Machinery Directive and the Health and Safety at Work Act each include regulations on the use of these vital pieces of equipment.
"Vigilance during inspections is paramount," explains Chas Day. "From the truck's data plate to its safety harness, a Competent Person should thoroughly inspect your working platform to ensure compliance with the law."
He concludes: "The onus is on the user to choose and maintain appropriate equipment to carry out operations safely. Importantly, we are concerned with the Thorough Examination of the fork lift truck and working platform combination as well as the individual attachment."
Developed in co-operation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), CFTS Thorough Examinations have been specifically designed to address the special needs of fork lift trucks.
The CFTS Thorough Examination scheme was established through collaboration between the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), the two leading bodies in the fork lift truck industry.