COVID-19 and Thorough Examinations

17 March 2020

CFTS is reminding companies to continue booking Thorough Examinations for lift trucks despite the coronavirus pandemic, in order to ensure that legal obligations are fulfilled.

Ongoing coronavirus concerns have led some owners to believe that that they are exempt from arranging Thorough Examinations on their site, but this is not the case.

CFTS Chairman Geoff Martin said: “Thorough Examinations for lift trucks are a statutory requirement and must be carried out at least once every 12 months. If your forklift is due a Thorough Examination in the near future, you are legally obligated to arrange it. If you don’t, and your paperwork expires, then you will be in breach of LOLER and PUWER regulations. The Competent Person visiting the site to conduct the inspection will of course take all necessary precautions, and companies should already have measures in place to minimise risk of infection as per government guidance. Therefore the Thorough Examination should still be carried out.

“We are monitoring the news surrounding COVID-19 and if government guidance changes, we will offer updated advice regarding Thorough Examinations.”

For information on the coronavirus pandemic and recommended actions visit the government website.

What is a Thorough Examination?

A Thorough Examination is a mandatory check to ensure that the mechanical parts of a forklift are in safe working order. It is roughly equivalent to an MOT for a car.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) definition states:

"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. Your regular inspections as part of a preventive maintenance scheme or scheduled service are not a thorough examination."

Historically, inspectors were seen to have too much leeway in interpreting the requirements of LOLER and PUWER. The need for an exhaustive inspection and a desire to improve operational safety standards across the materials handling industry prompted the sector’s leading trade organisations, BITA and the FLTA, to collaborate with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) on a new initiative — CFTS.

Launched in 2004, CFTS saw the introduction of a safe, national, quality-controlled standard of inspection for forklift trucks. It is instantly identifiable by the Thorough Examination mark.

CFTS Thorough Examination is now the recognised benchmark for the industry and its introduction has thoroughly vindicated the aims of both associations to raise standards and make forklifts safer for operators, as well as those working in close contact with them.