Attachments could pose serious safety risk

24 February 2021

Lifting accessories used for agricultural operations must be included in Thorough Examinations.

Vehicles used for lifting operations, such as tractors, telehandlers and forklifts legally require regular Thorough Examinations under LOLER regulations. CFTS, the body behind the national standard for Thorough Examinations, believes many equipment owners are failing to declare lifting accessories when engineers arrive on site to conduct inspections.

Any lifting equipment that is used as an attachment on a vehicle, such as a platform, safety cage or bale grab, is required to have its own Thorough Examination. This is particularly important in cases where owners regularly swap attachments to perform different tasks.

CFTS Chairman Geoff Martin explains: “Owners have a responsibility to ensure that every piece of equipment they have on site is safe to use. It is therefore essential to show all attachments to the Thorough Examination engineer when they carry out an inspection.

“Sadly, we have heard of attachments being hidden from view so they are not included in the Thorough Examination. This is reckless as that equipment could have an undetected fault. If the attachment itself was to break it could cause an accident involving serious or fatal injury, as well as lost resources and expensive equipment repairs. Plus, failure to comply with legal obligations could even result in prosecution by the HSE. No one should be taking this risk.”

CFTS-accredited engineers provide in-depth Thorough Examinations using specialised documentation that details specific criteria for relevant attachments. This ensures that attachments are in good general condition, and that all electronic, hydraulic, and mechanical components are working correctly. For example, an attachment examination will assess the security of attachment mounts, test winch and chain brakes, check chain and sling wear, inspect damage, and check wear on plates and warning signs.

Geoff Martin adds: “By ensuring that your equipment attachments receive regular Thorough Examinations, you can be confident in your compliance with the law. It will also enable your equipment to stay in good working condition, which will help you stay safe and productive.”