In the agriculture sector, a Thorough Examination is likely to be required for a wide range of equipment including:
- Tractor loaders, forklift trucks and telescopic handlers (telehandlers)
- Workshop hoists and rope hoists
- Cranes on machines (e.g., on lorries or fertiliser spreaders)
- Lifting attachments and accessories
To find out what should be inspected on a tractor under LOLER and PUWER, check out our interactive guide here.
Not all agriculture equipment requires a Thorough Examination under LOLER:
- Equipment used only for earthworks do not require a Thorough Examination as earth is not classed as a load. If that equipment has an eyebolt or hook for lifting, then it would need to comply with LOLER.
- Equipment would not need a Thorough Examination if it were used by an individual where there is no risk of tipping, and no other people operate in the vicinity of the working area.
What is a Thorough Examination for?
The purpose of the Thorough Examination is to protect both operators and others working in the vicinity of lifting operations who might be at risk if the lifting equipment fails.
The importance of a Thorough Examination cannot be over-estimated. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), agriculture has the worst rate of worker fatal injury of all the main industry sectors, with the annual average over the last five years around 20 times as high as the all-industry rate.
The personal costs of injury and ill health can be devastating. Life is never the same again for family members left behind after a work-related death, or for those looking after someone with a long-term illness or serious injury caused by their work.
Managing risks in a sensible way protects you, your family, your workers and your business.
Looking after your equipment through regular (and genuinely thorough) Thorough Examinations offers 7 key commercial benefits:
- Improving safety by ensuring your equipment is in good working order
- Extending the life of expensive equipment and machinery
- Reducing the cost of sickness payments and the inconvenience of losing key staff
- Reducing insurance premiums and legal costs
- Improving productivity
- Reducing the risk of enforcement action and its associated costs (inspection by HSE, fines, etc.)
- Helping ensure equipment is available at key times
How to stay productive… and on the right side of the law
Thorough Examinations should not be confused with preventive maintenance or scheduled services. A Thorough Examination and inspection carries legal requirements under both LOLER and PUWER, and can only be conducted by a trained engineer that has been deemed a Competent Person.
The Competent Person can also determine how often inspections are required based on factors such as the nature of the machinery, the work it does, the hours it is used, and the working environment.
For equipment to remain legally compliant and safe to use, permanently fitted lifting attachments must be included in the Thorough Examination and checked every 12 months, but for removeable attachments, the law demands they must be checked at least twice a year.
During a Thorough Examination, the Competent Person should check the lifting equipment (under LOLER) but also other key operational parts such as brakes and steering (under PUWER). The examiner should also use specialised documentation that details specific criteria for inspecting the security and condition of attachments.
For more information read Agriculture Information Sheet 28 from the HSE here or visit the HSE website here.
Step 1: Check whether your current provider of Through Examination uses procedures that conform with HSE requirements under both LOLER and PUWER, and has separate and specific checklists for the inspection of attachments. To find out what a CFTS Thorough Examination covers on your equipment click here.
Step 2: Ensure you meet the correct timescales for Thorough Examinations. If in doubt, use the CFTS interactive guide to find out how often your Thorough Examination is due.
Step 3: Talk to your nearest CFTS- accredited provider for expert advice. Search here.
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