How safe are your brakes?

31 March 2022

Regular Thorough Examinations will highlight faults and minimise accident risk advises CFTS

Material handling equipment will, over time, suffer from significant wear and tear, including on the brakes. To ensure that defects are detected, CFTS is urging owners and users of equipment to schedule regular maintenance and safety inspections.

CFTS is the material handling industry’s accrediting body for Thorough Examinations, and provides a comprehensive assessment of work equipment, including lift trucks, in accordance with LOLER and PUWER legislation.

Geoff Martin, CFTS Chairman, explains: “Very recently the courts fined a motor vehicle scrap company £60,000 after a worker was run over and crushed by a forklift. The HSE investigation found that the truck had not been adequately maintained, had no working foot brake, no working hand brake and had defective steering.

“This is a prime example of why neglecting maintenance is dangerous. It puts operators and their co-workers at risk of injury or even death should the equipment fail. As well as the human costs, significant fines like the one handed out in this instance can seriously impact a business.”

In a CFTS Thorough Examination, safety-critical parts like brakes and steering are checked in adherence to the standards of PUWER. This is additional to checks made in line with LOLER.

Examinations are conducted by a highly trained CFTS-accredited engineer – known in the industry as Competent Person – who will provide a thorough inspection of the entire truck, and can often fix faults right away.

They can also determine how frequently equipment should be examined based on several factors, such as the environment and the equipment type.

“There is never a good reason for ignoring responsibilities when it comes to health and safety,” adds Geoff Martin. “Regular Thorough Examinations are a legal requirement. As well as making sure you are compliant with the law, keeping up with maintenance schedules gives owners the opportunity to be alerted to any mechanical issues early on so they can be addressed. This ensures that the truck stays in good working order and gives you reassurance that your operators are using safe, suitable equipment.”