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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.”

Strict testing criteria for fork lift truck Thorough Examinations ensures compliance and worker safety, advises CFTS.

Recent legislative changes, with more emphasis on punishment, mean that ensuring your equipment complies with the law is more important than ever before, according to CFTS, the body behind the national standard for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks and related transport.

With managers and directors overseeing operations at risk of violating the law and in danger of life threatening accidents, CFTS is continuously looking for ways to ensure that the wear, efficiency and performance of lift trucks are measured and recorded precisely to protect British companies.

CFTS Chairman Mike Mathias explains: “CFTS Thorough Examinations require competent inspectors to perform accurate physical examinations on key components. With CFTS, there is no room for guesswork.”

Set up as a joint initiative between the Fork Lift Truck Association and the British Industrial Truck Association, CFTS is responsible for the comprehensive procedure and strict code of practice for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks. It is followed by the scheme’s national network of more than 450 accredited Thorough Examination providers.

He continues: “Consider a fork lift truck’s chains as one example. They are a vital component of a truck’s lifting mechanism. Every CFTS examiner is required to use an accurate chain gauge that judges wear and tear precisely – with results that can be replicated.

“They also carry other equipment essential for accessing key components such as a jack for checking the brakes and steering, or A-frame ladders to inspect chain wear at the top of the mast where it passes over the rollers – arguably the most crucial area for wear and faults. It’s this kind of intensive and exhaustive inspection that sets CFTS apart.

“CFTS Thorough Examinations also ensure the truck meets the rigorous demands of LOLER 98, which covers lifting components, such as the forks and chains, as well as PUWER 98, which governs other critical safety items such as brakes, steering and tyres.

“To protect employers and those working with and alongside fork lift trucks, our 33-point Thorough Examination standard was specially developed for compliance and consistency – so employers can be confident that their trucks are working safely and within the law wherever they are in the UK.”

Mr Mathias concludes: “By specifying a CFTS-accredited examination be assured that you are fulfilling your responsibilities to comply with the law and protect your staff.”

A series of new interactive online guides from CFTS explain the importance of comprehensive Through Examination – not just for counterbalance forklifts, but telehandlers, rough terrain, man-up, and reach trucks too.

Available here, these straightforward guides clearly illustrate – at a glance – which components truck users must have checked in order to fulfil their obligations under both LOLER '98 and PUWER '98.

Thorough examination of industrial lift trucks is required under health and safety law. As the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says: "LOLER 1998 covers lifting equipment, and PUWER 1998 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."

There is still considerable confusion surrounding the Thorough Examination of different types of lift truck. The new interactive guides make it very clear what must be checked under both LOLER and PUWER regulations, illustrating why comprehensive thorough examination – incorporating both sets of checks – is so important.

CFTS Chairman Mike Mathias said: "Initially, we printed vehicle-specific, laminated leaflets to help CFTS-accredited companies explain Thorough Examination to their customers.

"These proved to be incredibly popular – with many customers asking to keep them for reference – so we decided to make this important information freely and easily accessible to all, online.

"There’s a common misconception that the legally-required inspection is covered by regular servicing. Still more are unsure of how often it’s required and what items should be covered.

"Working with intrinsically hazardous equipment, it’s vital that users of lift trucks, of all types, understand the importance of comprehensive inspections and are aware of what needs to be checked.

"These new online guides should leave people in no doubt."

With more than 400 accredited UK companies, CFTS Thorough Examinations are available throughout the whole country. To find a local CFTS-accredited company, type your postcode into our online search facility, or you can find and explore the interactive guides yourself here.

CFTS, the body behind the UK’s national scheme for the Thorough Examination of lift trucks, has issued a reminder to truck owners and operators: Thorough Examination is not just for trucks; attachments require inspection too.

Under UK health and safety law, fork lift truck users are legally obliged to ensure that their trucks receive a thorough examination, at least once every 12 months (more frequently in some cases). Attachments – such as platforms, booms, cranes, grabbers, fork extensions, etc – also require inspection, and failure to comply could lead to prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

When attachments are permanently fixed to the truck, they should be inspected as part of the truck’s thorough examination. However, non-permanent attachments are not included in this, and must be inspected by a competent person at least twice a year.

Fork trucks must comply with LOLER and PUWER. As the HSE states: "LOLER 1998 covers lifting equipment, and PUWER 1998, deals with all other safety-related items, such as brakes, steering and tyres." As part of the lifting mechanism, permanent attachments must be inspected along with the rest of the truck.

CFTS Chairman, Mike Mathias, explains: “Attachments are a crucial part of the lifting mechanism and must be treated accordingly. The sudden failure of a boom, winch, platform, or other attachment could be incredibly dangerous – particularly while carrying a load.

“The CFTS Thorough Examination lives up to its name and includes an 18-point checklist for attachments alone. This ensures attachments are in good general condition, and that all their components – electronic, hydraulic, and mechanical – are working correctly. In this way, truck operators can be secure in the knowledge that their truck is safe and legal.”

Depending on a number of factors, including average weekly use, working environment, and tasks performed, fork lifts, and their permanent attachments, can require examination as often as every four months. The CFTS website features a specification tool which tells users how often their truck should be examined.

Non-permanent attachments are just as important. They must be regularly inspected for wear and tear, and properly examined at least once every 6 months, by a ‘competent person’.

This person must have appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the attachments, and be able to both detect defects and assess how important they are to the safety and continued use of the equipment.

Mr. Mathias concludes: “Attachments, both permanent and non-permanent, must be used, maintained, and inspected correctly if companies are to comply with the law. Failure to do so endangers your staff, stock and your very business.”

With more than 500 accredited UK companies, CFTS Thorough Examinations are available throughout the whole country.

CFTS Thorough Examination accreditation reaches Jersey

Fork lift truck users in Jersey can now benefit from assured standards in Thorough Examination as 4fleet,part of 4group, has become the first Channel Islands company to gain CFTS accreditation.

“Our network of accredited members is growing throughout the UK and Ireland, and we’re delighted to be spreading in yet another direction,” says Mike Mathias, Chairman of CFTS (Consolidated Fork Truck Services).

He adds: “The regulations governing Thorough Examination on Jersey have different names but essentially they cover much the same as ours in the UK – and the arguments in favour of CFTS Thorough Examination are just as strong.”

Why choose CFTS?

“In a nutshell, without the CFTS procedure and code of practice there is a real risk of Thorough Examinations failing to comply with the law – allowing safety defects to go unnoticed and putting the fork lift user at risk of prosecution.

“A key problem is that many inspections focus on the lifting mechanisms and pay too little attention to other parts of the truck. In addition, the legal requirements, which apply to a wide range of other machinery, are open to individual interpretation by different inspectors.

“In CFTS Thorough Examination we have a comprehensive procedure, specific to fork lift trucks, developed by those who understand them best – the Fork Lift Truck Association and the British Industrial Truck Association. Customers choosing CFTS Thorough Examinations can be sure of the same high standards, wherever they are.”

The law in Jersey

Those familiar with the UK legislation and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance would find Jersey’s equivalents very similar. There, the Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI) has a code of practice and guidance document entitled ‘The Safe Use of Rider-operated Lift Trucks’ which helps in meeting the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law, 1989.

In several places, it refers to the Chains, Ropes and Lifting Gear (Jersey) Regulations, 1980, similar to the UK’s LOLER 98 requirements, and specifies the need for ‘thorough examination by a competent person’.

Interestingly, where chains form part of the lifting equipment, Jersey’s regulations stipulate that they be thoroughly examined every six months.

Mike explains: “On the mainland, chains must be checked at least once every 12 months by law. But more challenging applications will require checks more frequently – even once every three months.”

Increased confidence for Jersey customers

For Jersey-based 4group, which provides a wide range of materials handling, transport, construction, electrical, power generation and other equipment for hire, sale or as managed packages, CFTS accreditation is seen as another important way of ensuring customer confidence, as Managing Director Nigel Blandin explains:

“We are working towards Centre of Excellence Status with Hire Association Europe and we are always looking for opportunities to further support our customers.

“When it comes to Thorough Examination, many people don’t realise that both the fork lift hirer and the hire company have legal responsibilities – or that there is great variation in how different people examine trucks.

“CFTS Thorough Examinations allow us to take away any such worries and provide customers with the information and documentation they need. 4hire is delighted to have achieved CFTS accreditation, which demonstrates our commitment to meeting the necessary high standards.

“UK businesses have long recognised and enjoyed the extra reassurance of the CFTS mark and we want nothing less for our customers in Jersey.”

For further information on 4hire visit www.4groupci.com.

CFTS’ game-changing Thorough Examination scheme, which has grown every year since its inception 11 years ago, has introduced another industry expert to its technical team.

Matthew Kennedy has stepped into the post of Technical Manager (South), motivated by his genuine belief in the scheme – evidenced by the fact that the company he ran prior to joining CFTS was highly successful in delivering the scheme.

“There is no doubt that CFTS has done a remarkable job in raising awareness of the need for Thorough Examination and making employers cognizant of their responsibilities,” said Mr Kennedy. 

“Because CFTS Thorough Examination was developed by the industry, for the industry, it offers truck users a clear, consistent, safe national standard that is specifically designed to fulfil the requirements of both LOLER and PUWER.”

Impressed by the peace of mind the scheme gave his clients, when the opportunity to join the organisation came along Matthew took it.

He explains: “CFTS is highly regarded for the quality of its technical support and I am delighted to be in a position where I can work alongside the hundreds of companies accredited to the CFTS scheme throughout the UK and beyond. I look forward to working with them to expand the scheme even further.”

An engineer for more than three decades, Matthew has spent more than 20 years in the materials handling sector. He will be working alongside Shaun Prendergast – Technical Manager (North) – who welcomed Matthew to the organisation.

Shaun said: “Matthew brings with him a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise that will help us to drive CFTS forward and make the CFTS kite-mark the standard for excellence in the Thorough Examination of materials handling equipment.”

Chas Day honoured for services to fork lift truck industry

At its Annual Awards for Excellence, the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) awarded its prestigious 'Services to the Industry Award' to Chas Day of Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS).

Technical Manager Chas, who has been with CFTS since its inception more than 10 years ago, was instrumental in the development and launch of the UK’s first national standard for the Thorough Examination of lift trucks. Today, the nationwide organisation boasts more than 400 accredited companies.

FLTA Chief Executive Peter Harvey said: "Chas came to the fork truck industry having enjoyed a highly successful career in the aerospace industry. Their loss was our gain as he brought with him an encyclopaedic knowledge of engineering.

"The CFTS Thorough Examination is one of the most important safety initiatives in the history of the industry, used by companies covering the length and breadth of the country – most of whom consider Chas both a friend and mentor."

Developed by the industry, for the industry, CFTS Thorough Examinations embrace both LOLER and PUWER regulations for a comprehensive Thorough Examination.

Available nationally, the CFTS Thorough Examination standard covers safety-critical parts such as brakes and steering (under PUWER), as well as chains and forks (under LOLER).

Chas, who retires this month, said: "It is a great honour to receive this award, and I am humbled to receive it among so many other worthy recipients. This award is for every one of our member companies that have made CFTS such a success.

"Over the past decade, I have endeavoured to develop and promote CFTS Thorough Examinations and I am genuinely proud of what we have achieved.

"The CFTS marque is recognised nationwide as an indicator of quality. To have my contributions to the industry recognised by the FLTA really does end my career on a high."

CFTS Thorough Examinations impress Manitou 

Recognising the important benefits of full Thorough Examination, materials handling equipment manufacturer Manitou has chosen to become accredited to Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS).

Established more than 10 years ago, CFTS has developed a comprehensive procedure and strict code of practice for Thorough Examination – giving lift truck users a consistent, safe national standard which fulfils the requirements of both LOLER 1998 and PUWER 1998. 

For Manitou Group Area Product Support Engineer Gregg Hampshire, the decision to work to the CFTS standard was a natural decision: "There’s no single piece of legislation out there governing telescopic handler and fork lift truck operations, so the rules about Thorough Examination are open to interpretation.  

"For truck users, this can mean that what’s checked on their truck can vary depending on who they choose for their provider." 

CFTS Thorough Examinations are unique in that they’ve been developed by the industry – for the industry. As a result, the CFTS inspection checklist is comprehensive and very specific – leaving no room for interpretation which can leave customers exposed to risk. 

"For our customers, this means that they can be assured that their trucks have undergone a thorough Thorough Examination by a Competent Person who has been specifically trained to work to the high standards demanded by CFTS."

Welcoming Manitou, CFTS Chairman Mike Mathias said: “In becoming accredited, Manitou has demonstrated its commitment to raising telescopic handler and fork lift safety standards.  "Most recently, the company has implemented a sophisticated training programme across their dealerships. As well as ensuring their Competent Persons and Thorough Examinations are up to the marque, this represents a significant step forward for CFTS and industry safety in the UK."

Consolidated Fork Truck Services welcomes Steve Stewart  

Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) – the body responsible for developing and administering the materials handling industry’s national accreditation scheme for Thorough Examination – has appointed Steve Stewart, Crown Lift Trucks’ Managing Director of UK Operations, to its board.

Chairman of CFTS, Mike Mathias, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Steve onto the Board. With more than 20 years of experience in the materials handling industry, and as the former President of the Australian Industrial Truck Association, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise. He will be a strong addition to the Board.”

Steve Stewart also sits on the board of BITA (British Industrial Truck Association), which, in collaboration with the FLTA (Fork Lift Truck Association) established CFTS (Consolidated Fork Truck Services) more than a decade ago.

He said: “It’s a privilege to be appointed to the board. CFTS plays a vital role within the materials handling industry, and is instrumental in ensuring forklifts are safe to operate.”

While LOLER-only Thorough Examinations may focus solely on a truck’s lifting parts, CFTS-accredited Thorough Examinations have been developed to meet the high standards set out by LOLER 98 and PUWER 98 – ensuring the safety of the whole vehicle.

Thorough Examination experts recruiting in South of England

Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) is now advertising for a new Technical Manager to head up its South of England operations.

CFTS is responsible for developing and administering a national accreditation scheme for the Thorough Examination of fork lift truck vehicles.

The organisation plays a vital role in the UK materials handling industry ensuring fork lift trucks are safe to operate according to both LOLER and PUWER statutory regulations.

Mike Mathias, Chair of CFTS, said: “We are ideally looking for a highly experienced fork lift truck technician who has a detailed knowledge of a broad range of lift trucks.

“The successful applicant is likely to hold a HNC, HND or engineering degree (or equivalent) and must be well-versed in current lift truck legislation and best practice.

“The position will involve assessing and inspecting current and prospective CFTS-accredited companies and will focus on the South of England.

“Candidates should be able to work on their own initiative and possess very good interpersonal skills as s/he will be liaising with both senior managers and junior engineers.”

The CFTS scheme plays a pivotal role in the safe examination and inspection of fork lift trucks; 10 years ago there was no common standard for this vital and legally required safety procedure.

Individual inspectors could decide for themselves what aspects of a fork lift truck should be covered and how rigorous each examination should be.

Thanks to CFTS, the UK materials handling industry has a single, comprehensive, consistently high-quality Thorough Examination that covers the legal requirements of both LOLER and PUWER.

There are now more than 400 fork lift truck companies accredited to the scheme, allowing customers, wherever they are in the UK, to benefit from the peace of mind that comes with the CFTS ‘kite’ certification mark.

Interested parties are invited to apply with a full CV in confidence to James Clark, CFTS, 5-7 High Street. Sunninghill, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 9NQ, or email: james.clark@bita.org.uk.

What should it cover?

Not every Examination is Thorough. Our interactive guides shows what must be checked, and why.

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What should it cover