When you’re overseeing 40 mobile engineers operating nationwide, from a central location, paperwork can create problems for you, your engineers and, of course, your customers.
That’s why, when faced with the risk of delays, loss, incurred postage and admin costs, independent forklift truck sales, hire and service provider Stacatruc sought an electronic solution.
For the past 17 years, the company, which is based in Thatcham, Berkshire, has been a satisfied daily user of Protean Software’s products.
When PDAs and other handheld devices became available 9 years ago, the forward-thinking dealer jumped at the opportunity to go paperless – eager to gain the associated benefits and savings.
Paul Vousden, Stacatruc’s National Service Manager said: “The system was ideal for engineer callouts. Where paperwork might have taken days to arrive at headquarters, it now took just minutes for information to be registered centrally.
“Unfortunately, there was one exception: Thorough Examinations. Because the CFTS system is paper-based, processing couldn’t begin until days later when the documentation arrived in the post. From there, our administrators needed to scan three sheets into the system before entering them onto Protean as attachments.”
Having raised the issue of electronic documentation with CFTS, Paul was very pleased to learn of CFTS’ plan to launch an electronic documentation scheme in partnership with Protean.
Each month, Paul’s team of 40 undertakes around 300 Thorough Examinations. Processing the necessary paperwork was generating five hours of administration a week and that, in itself, was adding extra costs and time, due to a less-than-ideal system.
Clearly, switching to CFTS’ Protean scheme held huge appeal to Stacatruc and the forward-thinking company was one of the first names signing up upon launch.
Transitioning to the new system was very straightforward, according to Paul Vousden. He said: “The only real issue we had was that our engineers needed training to ensure that data is being recorded accurately.
“We would definitely recommend that colleagues consider making the switch. Having worked with Protean and CFTS for a number of years, we had complete trust that they would develop something that was well-thought out and valuable for companies like us to use.
“Because we’ve used Protean for the long-term, it’s been a seamless transition. If you’re one of the companies out there that’s still on the fence about it, it offers a great stepping stone to paperless and, what’s more, it doesn’t take long to reap the benefits.”
Since making the move, processing time for Thorough Examinations at Stacatruc is a tiny fraction of what it was just a year ago. Information can now be with the office – and the customer – within 15 minutes of the engineer’s departure, rather than days or weeks later.
“While paperwork can take up to four weeks to come through, our admin and our customers receive this within just 15 minutes of our engineer leaving site.”
Matthew Kennedy, Technical Manager (South) has worked with both Protean and Paul Vousden to ensure a smooth transition. He added: “At CFTS, we strive to listen to the companies we work with and see what they need to be able to deliver Thorough Examinations as easily as possible… but in a way which maintains our high standards.
“With the amount that a Thorough Examination covers, the risk of that important paperwork getting lost in the post just isn’t worth it.
“This system ensures our remote engineers can be confident that their reports are in the system before they’ve gone too far from site. What’s more, because it sends a copy of documentation to the customer at the same time, it gives peace of mind for all involved. It’s a win all-round.
11 April 2018
Lift truck safety inspections need same clarity as HGVs
Although forklift trucks are not subject to an MOT, as HGVs are, they do require a Thorough Examination under both LOLER and PUWER, so the importance of carrying out this examination to the highest standard is critical to the industry and all those working in it.
CFTS believes this lack of clarity surrounding how often lift truck examinations are carried out and documented can leave managers confused – potentially placing employees at risk.
At the recent National Fork Lift Safety Conference, the HSE revealed there are around 1,300 serious forklift accidents each year – 50% more than HGVs.
CFTS has therefore advised organisations to ensure their lift trucks are inspected to a safe, rigorous standard satisfying both LOLER and PUWER requirements – and to treat the issue as seriously as inspecting vehicles on the road.CFTS Chairman Geoff Martin says: “Every logistics or transport manager worth their salt knows exactly how their HGVs and PSVs are inspected and maintained. But the truth is, your lift truck is far more likely to be involved in a lifechanging accident – and to have its inspection regime questioned by the HSE.
“Ironically, satisfying your fork lift Thorough Examination duties is actually far easier than for HGV inspections. Whereas HGVs need to undergo an annual MOT and
formal programme of PUWER safety checks, the CFTS Thorough Examination for lift trucks covers LOLER and PUWER in one quality-assured process.
“What’s more, if you have your Thorough Examination carried out by an experienced lift truck specialist, you can have any faults fixed there and then – instead of waiting for a retest, like you would with an HGV. For employers, that means fewer disruptions and lower maintenance costs.“The fact HGVs are so well-inspected goes to show the benefit of absolute clarity around standards, schedules, methods and documentation. Which is why BITA and the FLTA, the forklift industry’s two leading authorities, teamed up to create CFTS in the first place.”
Established in 2004, CFTS is the fork lift truck industry’s own voluntary standard for Thorough Examination. Accredited providers sign up to a clear code of conduct, and standard inspection methodology, satisfying both LOLER and PUWER standards.
And thanks to a growing network of more than 400 accredited companies, Thorough Examination has never been easier to arrange.
To learn more about Thorough Examination, or to find the nearest details of your nearest CFTS accredited company, visit www.thoroughexamination.org or call 07730 768668.
9 January 2018
What’s your Thorough Examination IQ?
CFTS Chairman Geoff Martin explains: “Recent changes to legislation mean that, as an employer, you need to understand what it is, why it’s required and, most important of all, what it means in practice.”
To help you keep your operations safe and legal, CFTS has identified the 9 things you need to know about Thorough Examination (but may have been afraid to ask…)
- What is a Thorough Examination?
A Thorough Examination is an essential, mandatory check to ensure that your trucks are in safe working order. In simple terms, you can think of a Thorough Examination as being the fork lift truck equivalent of an MOT. It is not the same as any regular checks your trucks may have as part of scheduled service plan.
It is required by law, and covers two different sets of Health and Safety regulation(s): LOLER 98 and PUWER 98. The LOLER and PUWER legislation covers different areas of a truck’s operation, so a truck that passes LOLER 98 could still leave you liable under PUWER 98, and vice versa. This is why a Thorough Examination is paramount. It means you’re completely covered.
- Why is it so important now?
The costs for non-compliance are higher than they ever have been. With the introduction of the Fee for Intervention, updates to L117, and increased fines for individuals under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, it’s never been more pressing for managers and supervisors to be fully aware of what’s required and making sure they comply.
- How often do you need one?
At least once every 12 months is stated in legislation, though under LOLER 98 this could be more frequently, depending on how, when, and where the truck is used.
- What parts of the fork lift must be checked by law?
LOLER 98 covers the lifting parts of the truck, as well as lifting accessories. PUWER 98 — which is generally less understood by forklift owners — covers the risks associated with the non-lifting parts of the truck, such as brakes and steering.
CFTS developed a standardised test that covers both PUWER and LOLER so you can be confident your truck is covered under the law
- Who is responsible for ensuring your truck has a valid Report of Thorough Examination?
If the truck is owned outright or is on a long-term hire of 12-months or more then the responsibility is on the truck’s owner or leaser/user. When a truck is hired for less than a year, the rental company has the responsibility of arranging the Thorough Examination.
However, whether you hire a truck for a day or a year, you should insist that a copy of the truck’s Report of Thorough Examination is included with the rental documentation. That way you can be satisfied that your employees are operating a truck that is safe and legal.
Importantly, a fork lift should also have a valid Thorough Examination report whenever it changes hands: either temporarily or permanently.
- What if I fail to comply?
Non-compliance with LOLER 98 and PUWER 98 comes at a heavy cost. You run the risk of prosecution and financial penalties, as well as putting your workforce at risk of serious injury – even death.
- What is CFTS?
The FLTA (Fork Lift Truck Association) and BITA (British Industrial Truck Association), the UK’s leading authorities, came together, in consultation with the HSE, to establish CFTS: delivering a safe, national, quality-controlled process for Thorough Examination.
Over the last 12 years, the number of CFTS-accredited companies in the national network has passed 450 and continues to grow. You can identify a CFTS-accredited company by the distinctive kitemark on their literature, certification, reports, and truck stickers (as only companies officially accredited are allowed to use this mark).
- What types of industrial trucks can be inspected by CFTS accredited companies?
The CFTS Thorough Examination standard has been developed to cover the widest range of lift trucks, including counterbalance trucks, telehandlers, rough terrain trucks, man-up models, and reach trucks.
A recent initiative introduced a rigorous 34-point Thorough Examination quality-controlled procedure specifically for attachments. The new criteria includes separate inspections of the security of attachment mounts, winch and chain brake tests, chain and sling wear checks, damage inspections, checks on wear plates and warning signs, along with an entirely new checklists to cover platforms, safety cages and tail lifts.
- Why CFTS?
With a CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination check you can be assured that your Thorough Examination check will be of the highest standard, as few outside of the industry can claim such authority and familiarity with the procedure as a combination of the FLTA and BITA working with the HSE.
As legislation changes, so will we, so you can always be confident that a CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination will ensure you’re thoroughly covered, and so are your trucks.
6 December 2017
Ecobat Project Manager joins CFTS Board
Chairman of CFTS, Geoff Martin, said: “We are all extremely pleased to have David joining us on the Board. With over 30 years’ experience in quite a specialised part of the industry he’s going to be a valuable addition, bringing with him, as he does, a great amount of knowledge and expertise.”
David Callis joined the industry in 1985 as Regional Sales Manager for Chloride Motive Power in Crawley. He later joined Hawker as National Account Manager before moving to Powercell in 2005 to become their Operations Director.
He took up the role of Special Projects Manager when Powercell was purchased by Ecobat Technologies and is responsible for all energy management and handling projects.
David said: “It’s a great honour to join the Board. CFTS play a hugely important role in the industry and is a key driver in pushing the industry towards ensuring every single working fork lift is safe to operate.”
27 September 2017
CFTS looks ahead to IMHX 2019
Free, helpful advice on the importance of a Thorough Examination that fully applies with the law
CFTS knows how much of a worry it can be making sure your trucks keep up with all the relevant pieces of legislation. That’s why CFTS will be on hand throughout IMHX 2019 to answer questions from visitors.
Whether you’d like to know more about the quality-controlled Thorough Examination process, where you stand on LOLER and PUWER, or even how to get accredited to the scheme, CFTS Technical Managers Shaun Prendergast and Matthew Kennedy will be available and ready to help.
Shaun explains: “IMHX is a key event in the logistics calendar and brings together fork lift truck users, dealers and manufacturers in one location.
“There’s still a lot of confusion regarding the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks so, while it may seem a long way off, it is vital that we attend so that we can offer guidance to anyone who needs it.”
IMHX takes place at the Birmigham NEC from 24-27 September, 2019.
26 July 2017
Full Thorough Examination “essential”
New laminated leaflets from Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) explain why – particularly in agriculture and construction – where accident rates continue to be high – Thorough Examination is as essential for rough terrain trucks and telehandlers as it is for fork lift trucks.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):
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.
While LOLER covers lifting equipment, safety inspections under PUWER look at all other safety-related items – including the brakes, steering and tyre.
CFTS Chairman Geoff Martin said: “There is considerable confusion surrounding the Thorough Examination of telehandlers and rough terrain fork lift trucks.
“Many, for example, believe that this statutory requirement is included in regular servicing. While many more are unsure of how often it’s required and what items should be checked as part of it. Working in such a challenging environment, it’s vital for truck users to be aware of these issues.
“A full Thorough Examination – covering not just LOLER 98, but PUWER 98 too – is a central part of lift truck safety, and it’s essential that anybody running one understands what’s involved.”
The two opposing sides of the double-sided laminated leaflet are designed to clearly illustrate the difference between a LOLER-only Thorough Examination, which focuses on the lifting parts of the truck, and the CFTS approach, which ensures the whole vehicle is safe to use.
With more than 450 companies throughout the UK accredited to carry out CFTS, owners of telehandlers and rough terrain trucks will have someone close at hand with the experience and resources to help them work safely and legally.Find your local CFTS-accredited company, here.
But, according to CFTS, even Thorough Examinations need thorough examinations to guarantee confident compliance for truck users.
CFTS Technical Manager North Shaun Prendergast explains: “A Thorough Examination is about much more than the inspection itself. We pride ourselves on offering a truly comprehensive inspection. That’s why we demand that our accredited companies work to an agreed, quality-controlled, continuously assessed process.
“For example, anyone involved in the administrative aspects of Thorough Examination management – whether it’s processing paperwork or reminding users of their next inspection date – must have completed a CFTS Thorough Examination Manager course.
“This meets the specific needs of managers and their deputies: identifying their responsibilities; giving a detailed analysis of the CFTS Quality Assurance Procedural Code and explaining what that means in practice.”
CFTS has also taken steps to ensure that Competent Persons employed by accredited companies comply with the law.
Shaun explains: “HSE guidance (INDG422) states that Competent Persons should be ‘sufficiently independent and impartial to make objective decisions’.
“It’s perfectly legal for the same engineer who carries out routine maintenance to carry out the Thorough Examination itself, but to ensure they meet the law, we demand our accredited companies carry out a risk assessment. Doing this shows what measures are in place to ensure independence and impartiality. In addition, it indicates that there are steps in place to ensure that this is not normal practice.
“We also require that Thorough Examinations are carried out before any routine maintenance or repairs. That way documentation is completed on equipment in unrepaired condition.”
Regulation 10 of LOLER demands that any defects identified during a Thorough Examination which may involve an existing or imminent risk of serious personal injury – even if remedied within 24 hours – are reported to the local HSE office or HSE representative at the local council.
Shaun adds: “Neglecting this duty, simply because it’s been fixed ‘on the spot’, disguises a potentially dangerous situation – placing lives and limbs at risk.“A Thorough Examination needs to be just that — thorough. That’s why we’re continuously looking at improving the standard which we work to.”
CFTS, the body behind the national standard for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks, has expanded to include organisations from Cyprus, Jersey, and Eire…giving them even wider recognition as a standard for comprehensive inspection.
In 2016, CFTS accredited 37 new organisations, among them: Jersey’s Department of Infrastructure, Cyprus’ Y. Skembedjis & Sons, Isle of Man’s GF Forktrucks Ltd and Lynch & McCarthy and Dungarvan Mechanical Services from Ireland.
The CFTS Thorough Examination is an established standard in the fork truck industry as its quality-controlled process ensures trucks comply with both LOLER 98 and PUWER 98 legislation.
Regular testing of examiners, backed by strict checks to ensure their independence, ensures tests are carried out to the highest standard – offering truck users confident compliance.
CFTS Technical Manager North Shaun Prendergast said: “The CFTS Thorough Examination has been developed by the authorities on fork lift truck operations – BITA and the FLTA – in consultation with the HSE.
“For more than a decade, we’ve worked hard to enhance our Thorough Examination criteria, so that truck users operate safely, productively and legally. We’re pleased to see it being recognised further afield.
“And because it has been born from UK safety legislation – which is among the world’s most stringent – having this standard adopted overseas will assist in raising safety levels across the board.”
22 November 2016
CFTS offers valuable advice on checking chain wear
The danger of accidents caused by chain wear is one of the most pressing reasons why the HSE first introduced LOLER inspections and, subsequently, the even more exacting procedure for Through Examination. The question is: how best can chain wear be monitored and measured?
The answer is clear, according to Mike Mathias, Chairman of CFTS, the accrediting body for the 450+ members of the national scheme for carrying out Thorough Examinations on materials handling equipment of almost every type.
“When checking for chain wear and elongation we require our members to use a precision, self-calibrating chain wear gauge. It is our view that measurements obtained using a steel rule or tape offer greater scope for error, so cannot be guaranteed deliver accurate, reliable and replicable results.
“Insisting on an accurate chain gauge is one of the operational methods that differentiates CFTS Thorough Examinations from most others.”
CFTS favours the chain gauge because its V-shaped jaws always give positive location on the pins, so that readings are always from the pin’s centre. This means results are both consistent and repeatable.
By contrast, using a tape or steel rule requires a totally steady hand, along with very precise visual alignment, which, depending on the position of the inspector’s eyes, can result in a parallax error. In the field this makes it almost impossible to achieve genuine consistency
Mike continues: “The need for accuracy is crucial because 0.25% wear measures just 0.75mm over 300mm. This can be the difference between an acceptable level of wear and a truck being taken out of commission.
“Our examiners report that the chain gauge is also very customer-friendly,” explains Mike. “Because the percentage wear is directly visible in a window, everyone can clearly see the results clearly and understand the full extent of chain wear. By contrast, using a tape or rule means the inspector has to work out a complicated calculation: (X=(L-(PxN)) x100 / (PxN) where P= the pitch of the chain; N= pitches measured; L= measured length and X= percentage wear).
“Requiring the use of a self-care chain gauge is just one example of the methodology that sets CFTS Thorough Examinations apart. Anyone who sees our examiners on-site will notice that they come fully equipped to examine all key components on the truck (including steering, brakes etc) not just the lifting gear.
“That’s because CFTS examinations cover both LOLER and PUWER – as recommended by the HSE. So you’ll often seen a CFTS examiner jacking up the truck, using an A-frame ladder to check the chain in crucial areas, such as where it passes over the mast rollers.
“It’s all part of our drive to ensure that lift trucks are fit for purpose, protecting not only those who work on and around trucks but the company itself.”
17 October 2016
Geoff Martin appointed CFTS Chairman
Geoff Martin has been appointed chairman of CFTS – the UK’s first national scheme for the Thorough Examination of fork lift and warehouse trucks. In doing so he succeeds Mike Mathias, Managing Director of Toyota Material Handling UK.
A director of Jofson Limited, Mitsubishi approved dealers for the Midlands and Manchester regions, Geoff Martin has worked in the materials handling industry for more than two decades and is also a director of the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA).
“It is a privilege to be appointed chairman of the CFTS board,” said Mr Martin. “Our quality controlled procedure has earned the respect of fork lift owners and operators across the country who look upon the CFTS kite-mark as clear evidence that their trucks are safe, legal and comply fully with HSE requirements.
“I would like to thank my predecessor Mike Mathias for all his commitment and hard work as CFTS continues to go from strength to strength. We now have more than four hundred and fifty companies accredited to the CFTS scheme with more joining all the time. It is vital that we provide the support they need to provide the best possible service and to monitor quality standards so we retain our pre-eminent position among the truck using public.
“An example of that drive for ever higher standards was seen recently with the introduction of an expanded and enhanced version of the CFTS inspection checklist introduced specifically to monitor the safety of temporary attachments. Working with leading attachment manufacturers and suppliers we have devised specific inspections for the security of attachment mounts along with winch and chain brake tests, checks for chain and sling wear, inspections for damage, checks on wear plates and warning signs, as well as an entirely new checklist to cover platforms, safety cages and tail lifts.”
Mr Martin concludes: “I intend to build on Mike Mathias’ outstanding contribution and work closely with the CFTS team to deliver even greater support to our accredited companies and the highest possible quality of Through Examinations to those who own and operate forklift trucks.”
What should it cover?
Not every Examination is Thorough. Ourshows what must be checked, and why.Read More