Don’t forget about PUWER

28 February 2022

Crucial equipment checks are being missed warns CFTS

Many work equipment owners and users are at risk of falling foul of the law by not ensuring trucks are inspected under PUWER, says CFTS — the industry’s accrediting body for Thorough Examinations.

The HSE requires that lift trucks be inspected in line with two sets of regulations: LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) and PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations).

While LOLER addresses the forklift’s lifting mechanism, including the mast, forks and chains, PUWER covers the truck’s safety-critical components, including brakes, tyres and steering. Work equipment must meet both sets of requirements.

“LOLER is well known throughout the industry, but many are not aware that inspections under PUWER are a legal obligation as well,” explains Geoff Martin, Chairman of CFTS.

“Owners often take inspections for granted, but it’s important to ask your provider questions about your Thorough Examinations before they happen. Don’t be afraid to ask your provider to confirm that the inspection meets both LOLER and PUWER requirements. If a truck is only inspected under one regulation, you will be liable for not meeting the other.

“Without a proper inspection you cannot be sure that your operations are safe or legal. If an accident were to occur due to faulty equipment, you not only put your operators at risk, but also your business, as it is the employer who will be liable and held to account. Non-compliance with LOLER and PUWER comes at a heavy cost. You run the risk of prosecution and financial penalties.”

Back in 2004, CFTS developed a standardised Thorough Examination for work equipment, including counterbalance forklifts, rough-terrain vehicles, telehandlers, tractors, reach trucks and more. A CFTS Thorough Examination covers both PUWER and LOLER to give owners complete assurance that their truck is compliant with the law and is operating to the correct safety standards.

Geoff Martin adds: “One of the many benefits of using a CFTS-accredited provider is that the Thorough Examination will be just that – thorough. Small issues will be caught before they turn into bigger problems. A CFTS examiner will supply a full report and certificate detailing their findings about the truck, so there is no confusion about what has been inspected. You get complete transparency and peace of mind.”