Thorough Examination: the interactive guides
Counterbalance Fork Lift Guide
Beware: not every Examination is truly "Thorough". CFTS is a national standard guaranteed to fulfil your obligations under LOLER 98 and PUWER 98.
Some so-called "Thorough" Examinations only cover a fork truck's lifting mechanism, doing the minimum to meet LOLER 98 (in blue, below); but you also have a duty under PUWER 98 to ensure equipment is safe to use - and that requires a much more detailed examination (also including the items in red). A CFTS Thorough Examination is certain to cover both parts.
Hover your mouse over any section of the truck below to see which regulation covers that particular section of the vehicle. For example, would you want to use a truck that hadn't had its brakes checked?
Fork arms are subject to constant abrasion and stress, making them particularly vulnerable. They must be of the correct capacity, and need to be inspected for signs of wear (meeting ISO 5057), cracks, deformation and splaying. The means of fork location and end stops are also checked.
The fork arm carrier must be checked for distortion or cracking, along with the mounting and soundness of any load backrest extension. If a side shift is fitted, it must move in a controlled, even manner.
Attachments / Side Shift (if fitted)
Permanently fitted attachments and side shifts can be included in the truck’s usual Thorough Examination interval. If removable, they must be checked at least twice a year. To ensure safety, they must be free from distortion or cracks, mounted securely, and operable in a smooth, even manner throughout their full range of movement.
The load backrest should be inspected to ensure it is structurally sound and securely mounted; otherwise it may not only cause falling loads, but could become a hazard in its own right.
Sudden lift chain failure is potentially lethal; however, the wear, elongation or corrosion that can cause it can be very gradual, and tricky to spot. Careful measurement in at least three places is therefore essential: a change of just 3% means the chain must be replaced (below this, the examiner must judge whether the chain is safe - making experience essential). Chain anchor points and pulleys also require particular attention.
The mast, or telescopic boom on a telehandler, must be inspected throughout its full range of extension and movement. Hydraulic systems are also carefully checked and tested.
The tilt must move in a controlled, even manner with no signs of damage or scoring. Hydraulic cylinders, hoses and piping are also inspected.
Hydraulic cylinders, reservoir, hoses and pipes must be checked carefully, as sudden loss of pressure can be catastrophic. Filters can be checked for signs of debris and, if there is cause for concern, load handling parts might be subjected to a prolonged load test to rule out unacceptable descent.
Clear rating information is absolutely critical to the safe operation of any fork lift truck. Capacity data plates must be securely attached, legible and have the capacity rating for the truck and any attachments fitted. If a load capacity indicator is fitted, the information should be clearly visible to the operator.
All controls, cables and linkages should be checked for correct operation, corrosion, damage and signs of potential failure. They must be securely mounted, and their function clearly marked.
Brake failure is a fork lift truck operator's worst nightmare, but brakes are left unchecked in many non-CFTS inspections. All service and parking brake systems must operate as expected, and an experienced fork lift truck specialist will be able to make an initial evaluation with a slow drive test. Inspection should also cover hydraulics/pneumatics, mountings, cables, linkages, pedals levers and controls.* Note: Brakes might NOT be checked under a non-CFTS examination *
Where possible, the chassis should be inspected for signs of damage and cracking in welds.* Note: Chassis might NOT be checked under a non-CFTS examination *
Wheels & Tyres
Because of the forces involved, wheel failure not only causes accidents, but can be a fatal hazard in its own right. Wheels and their assemblies should be in sound condition and securely fixed. Tyres must be checked for specification, wear, damage and bonding failure. Composite wheels and tyres must be a correct combination, suitable for the application and truck. Wheel bearings also need particular attention.* Note: Wheels and tyres might NOT be checked under a non-CFTS examination *
The mounting must be secure, along with the panel to which it is attached. Any operator restraint (e.g. seat belt) or anti-vibration mounting is also checked for signs of damage.* Note: Seat mountings might NOT be checked under a non-CFTS examination *
All mechanical and hydraulic components must be inspected for damage, excessive wear, signs of failure or corrosion. A specialist fork lift truck engineer is also able to manoeuvre the truck at low speed to check steering response and operation.* Note: Steering might NOT be checked under a non-CFTS examination *
Overhead Guard or Cab
As well as compromising protection from falling loads, a damaged overhead guard or cab can be a clue to potentially lethal structural problems. It must therefore be checked to confirm it is sound and securely mounted. Any transparent screens must be clear and undamaged.* Note: Overhead guards are often NOT checked under non-CFTS examinations *
Safety systems can only protect workers if they operate correctly. Moreover, because operators come to depend on them, any failure can instantly cause serious unsafe practices. All safety systems should therefore be checked to ensure they function properly – including visible and audible warning devices, capacity/data plates and safety interlocks such as seat switches.* Note: Safety equipment might NOT be checked under a non-CFTS examination *
Any operator seat restraint (including seatbelts and other devices designed to keep the operator safely seated in the event of a tipping accident) should be securely mounted, and free from damage.
The prime mover and transmission are checked, along with the exhaust system on IC engine (diesel and LPG) trucks, and battery and connections on electric trucks.* Note: The traction system might NOT be checked under a non-CFTS examination *
Often a cast iron block of two tonnes or more, the counterweight suddenly coming loose can be catastrophic – both to truck stability and as a hazard in its own right. The fastening must therefore be inspected to ensure it is secure and undamaged. Other structural components and mountings, such as for fluid containers, axles and batteries, should be checked in the same way.* Note: The counterweight might NOT be checked under a non-CFTS examination *
Read more about CFTS, the Industry Standard for Thorough Examination, here.