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To keep up with continued growth in demand for CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination services, Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) has appointed a new assistant technical manager, Shaun Prendergast.  

Shaun arrives at CFTS – the organisation which runs the fork lift truck industry’s only national accreditation scheme for Thorough Examination – with more than three decades of engineering experience.

Shaun began his career serving HM Forces in the UK and abroad. As part of the Specialist Team Royal Engineers, he was involved in undertaking vital engineering work: from repairing airfields in the Falkland Islands to working on bridges in Sierra Leone. 

Upon completing his military service in 1992, as a Corporal in the Plant Troop within the Corps of Royal Engineers, he began working in the materials handling industry. For the past 19 years, Shaun has worked as service manager for a mainstream dealer.

Welcoming Shaun, CFTS chairman Richard Hayes said: “Shaun brings with him the technical expertise and hands-on industry experience necessary to advise – with authority – on this highly complex subject.

“His understanding of the key issues affecting companies accredited to the CFTS scheme and their customers is as comprehensive as a CFTS Thorough Examination itself.”

Working alongside CFTS technical manager Chas Day, Shaun will have specific responsibility for the Midlands, North of England and Scotland. 

Shaun said: “The number of CFTS accredited companies is continually growing – which, in turn, is clear proof of the success of the scheme. As a result, there are very many valuable members in these regions and I hope to have the opportunity to meet them all in the weeks and months ahead. It’s a large area to cover, but eventually I will visit each and every one.”

With a continuing rise in the number of companies renting fork lift trucks, industry experts have raised concerns that uncertainty over who exactly is responsible for Thorough Examinations could be placing managers and directors at the risk of prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

Nationwide research carried out on behalf of Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) has revealed that 84% of supervisors and managers surveyed incorrectly hold their materials handling provider at least partially accountable for ensuring their truck holds a current Report of Thorough Examination.

Worryingly, 30% of respondents, who oversee operations of one or more fork lift trucks, believed that their service provider – as the truck’s owner – would be solely responsible for this essential task.  Again, this is not the case.

According to CFTS Chairman Richard Hayes, “Whether a fork lift truck is owned or on hire, users and fleet owners should be fully aware of their responsibilities. Knowing that any user is unclear about this subject indicates that they are being inappropriately advised, if at all.”

“Under Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), the employer of a fork lift truck operator has a duty of care to make sure that a fork lift truck in use is safe. When that truck is owned by the employer, the implication of this duty is clear. The employer must arrange a regular Thorough Examination schedule appropriate to the truck and its use.

“Hirers have a duty to ensure that their lift trucks are safe for their employees to use and are thoroughly examined at the appropriate intervals. It is important for both the hire company and the hirer to establish which party will carry out safety-related maintenance and Thorough Examinations. Hirers need to ensure that necessary inspections and pre-use checks are carried out and defects reported and remedied as necessary.

“However, it is important to note that when a truck is leased or rented on a long-term basis, this responsibility remains with the employer of the driver.  He or she must make certain that a current and valid Thorough Examination Certificate is in place and available for inspection. Any change to this, making the maintenance service provider responsible, should be included in the maintenance contract.

“In cases where a truck is rented for less than one year, although the rental company is responsible for arranging Thorough Examination (as the owners of the equipment), the employer of the operator must still satisfy him or herself that the truck is legally compliant.  Usually this means insisting on having a copy of the Report of Thorough Examination included with the rental documentation.” 

There is a requirement under PUWER 98 for all work equipment to be regularly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and under LOLER 98 for lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined to ensure it remains in a safe condition.

Fork lift truck users should ensure that their lift trucks have been thoroughly examined by a Competent Person within the previous 12 months (or sooner depending on the operational conditions). 

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 Richard Hayes as its new chairman.

Managing Director of Brindley Lift Trucks and Chairman of the Fork Lift Truck Association Technical Committee, Hayes is a well-respected figure in the materials handling industry, with more than 30 years experience in the sector.

Hayes succeeds Simon Emery of Crown Lift Trucks, who held the position for two successful years.

Established through a collaboration between The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), the two leading bodies in the fork lift truck industry with the support of HSE, CFTS is the only nationally recognised Thorough Examination scheme that meets the requirements of both LOLER and PUWER.

Speaking after his appointment Mr Hayes said: “Now in its tenth year, this organisation continues to go from strength to strength because it delivers exactly what truck owners require to comply with current legislation.  

“Despite tough trading conditions in recent years, CFTS has achieved continuous growth to a position where more than 400 companies throughout the UK are currently accredited to the scheme – so no business is far from a nationally accredited company.

“This has been achieved by ensuring the highest standards of training and technical support to those accredited companies and the gold standard in Thorough Examinations to managers and directors responsible for owning and operating trucks.

Cargo Services (UK) Limited, based in Cardiff Docks, has been fined £110,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £60,000 after a lorry driver was struck by a reversing forklift truck.

Robert Deverall was at the company's premises as a forklift loaded steel beams onto his lorry. Towards the end of loading, Deverall approached the side of the forklift truck. The forklift then reversed over the lorry driver's leg which later had to be amputated below the knee.

The Health and Safety Executive found insufficient procedures in place to keep visiting drivers away from the operating areas of forklift trucks. It was also found that the forklift in question had a faulty reversing alarm and horn; a problem which, maintenance records showed, had been a recurring issue for four years.

Story from Handling & Storage Solutions.

When an organisation has been set up specifically to enforce high quality standards, you can be sure that recruitment of its staff will be a rigorous process.

Consolidated Fork Truck Services is currently seeking an assistant technical manager who can meet its very demanding criteria.

The new post has become necessary because of rapid growth in CFTS membership and activity in the ten years since its 2002 launch. To date, more than 400 companies have been accredited to deliver CFTS Thorough Examinations – and the number has continued to rise, despite the recession.

Working with CFTS technical manager Chas Day, the duties of the successful applicant will include assessing accredited companies and providing specialist advice on all matters relating to Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks.

CFTS Chairman Simon Emery says: "We’re looking for another very special person. As well as having the necessary qualifications, knowledge and experience to be able to advise with authority on this highly complex subject, we need someone who can relate well to company staff at every level. Our checklist for the successful candidate will be as comprehensive as the CFTS code of practice."

The assistant technical manager will hold specific responsibility for the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland.

A Barking-based vehicle recovery business has been fined for using a forklift truck after being served with a Prohibition Notice preventing its use.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted John Lang, sole trader of J Lang 24HR Recovery, over the illegal use of the forklift truck, which took place at 3.20pm on Wednesday 19 January 2011.

City of London Magistrates' Court heard that HSE inspectors witnessed Mr Lang driving the forklift truck. The notice had been served at 10.45am on 19 January because the lifting equipment had not been thoroughly examined by a competent person.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Gavin Pugh said: "Prohibition Notices are issued when HSE inspectors consider there to be a risk of serious personal injury arising from any work activity. The breach of a Prohibition Notice is one of the most serious matters in health and safety law."

John Lang of Barking Industrial Park, Alfreds Way, Barking, Essex, pleaded guilty to an offence under 33(1)(g) the of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.

Story from the Health and Safety Executive.

A survey among companies owning and operating fork lift trucks found that most Thorough Examinations did not meet user expectations, according to a survey by Consolidated Fork Truck Services.

It found that a majority was confused by what exactly is included… and who is responsible for making sure a truck conforms to legal requirements.

Some 93 per cent of respondents incorrectly assumed that any Thorough Examination would automatically include an inspection of their truck’s brakes as a matter of course.

CFTS chairman Simon Emery said: “The confusion arises because, unlike the MOT on a car, the requirements of a Thorough Examination are open to interpretation. In effect, the body providing the inspection is able to decide what should and shouldn’t be included. The nub of the problem is that the inspection of fork lift trucks is governed by two separate pieces of legislation: Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98).

“However, an alarming number of inspectors only include those items covered by LOLER – such as mast, chains and forks – within their inspection. In doing so they totally ignore crucial areas such as overhead guards, steering, brakes and other vital components… As a result, managers and directors responsible for fork lift trucks may fall foul of PUWER 98 legislation on ensuring the suitability of workplace equipment.”

CFTS is the product of a collaboration between the British Industrial Truck Association and the Fork Lift Truck Association with the support of the HSE. Companies accredited to the scheme – and there are around 400 of them covering the length and breadth of the UK – can be identified via the distinctive “kite” certification mark.

Survey reveals that 93% of owners “make wrong assumptions” over what is covered by Thorough Examination

A survey among companies owning and operating fork lift trucks has found that most Thorough Examinations do not meet user expectations. Indeed, a clear majority are confused by what exactly is included… and who is responsible for making sure a truck conforms to legal requirements.

The survey – conducted by Consolidated Fork Truck Services – involved telephone interviews with truck users throughout the UK extending across a broad cross-section of industrial classifications and fleet sizes in order to ensure a representative sample.

On the positive side the research confirmed that a concerted campaign has had a dramatic impact on awareness of Thorough Examination. When asked, in a previous (2005) survey, whether Thorough Examination was a legal requirement or merely “good practice”, around half (54%) answered correctly. Today, that number has risen to an impressive 76%.

Unfortunately, behind that headline figure there remains considerable confusion regarding what is actually included within a Thorough Examination. As a result, many tens of thousands of managers and directors may be responsible for equipment that simply isn’t being examined as thoroughly as they had anticipated…

Most strikingly, the vast majority of respondents – 93% – incorrectly assumed that any Thorough Examination would automatically include an inspection of their truck’s brakes as a matter of course.

According to Simon Emery, Chairman of CFTS, the body which commissioned the research, “The confusion arises because, unlike the MOT on a car, the requirements of a Thorough Examination are open to interpretation. In effect, the body providing the inspection is able to decide what should and shouldn’t be included. The nub of the problem is that the inspection of fork lift trucks is governed by two separate pieces of legislation: Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) andLifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98). However, an alarming number of inspectors only include those items covered by LOLER – such as mast, chains and forks – within their inspection. In doing so they totally ignore crucial areas such as overhead guards, steering, brakes and other vital components… As a result, managers and directors responsible for fork lift trucks may fall foul of PUWER 98 legislation on ensuring the suitability of workplace equipment.”

It was to overcome this clearly untenable situation that the two leading organisations in the fork lift truck industry – the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), with the support of the HSE – joined forces to create a single, national procedure available to truck users, wherever their industry or location.

The result is a comprehensive procedure and strict code of practice, a programme of engineer and management training and the mechanism to monitor standards under the CFTS brand name. Companies accredited to the scheme – and there are around 400 of them covering the length and breadth of the UK – can be identified via the distinctive “kite” certification mark.

“Customers need to be aware that all Thorough Examinations are not the same. Some are more thorough than others. My advice to those responsible for the upkeep of fork lift trucks should seek clarification on exactly what is being inspected – or they will get less than they bargained for….

They can do that by taking advantage of an interactive online tool that clearly identifies which parts of a fork lift truck are covered by LOLER, and which by PUWER using our interactive guides."

The following news story is reported by STV. Tractors with fork lift capability are subject to Thorough Examination legislation, and a CFTS examination - which includes the vehicle's brakes and hydraulics - could well have saved the farmer's life.

A farmer who died after being crushed by a tractor could have lived if the ageing vehicle had been properly maintained, a fatal accident inquiry has concluded.

Thomas Neil lost his life after the 40-year-old vehicle rolled down a ramp and trapped him against a steel gate while he was moving hay bales at Shiel Farm in Catrine, East Ayrshire on December 4, 2010.

Fire and rescue services were called to the scene but could not save the 64-year-old agricultural contractor, who died from asphyxia.

The inquiry heard that the tractor, a Massey Ferguson 3305, had been "poorly maintained" and was in "a deteriorated condition".

In particular, the report found that the vehicle's brakes were "significantly deficient" and incapable of safely arresting the vehicle's movement on inclines.

No evidence could be found as to whether Mr Neil had applied the brakes or not before exiting the vehicle, but the inquiry heard that he had been in the habit of lowering the vehicle's fork lift arms against the ground to stop it rolling.

In the report, Andrew Crouch of the Health and Safety Executive, said: "In my opinion the tractor was in overall poor condition and exhibited faults consistent with poor maintenance.

"The hazards associated with inadequate brakes on a vehicle are likely to result in serious injury or fatality as in this case."

Concluding, Sheriff Desmond Leslie said: "The sad and premature death of Mr Thomas Neil was a consequence of his lax attention to his personal safety combined with his operation of an inadequately maintained tractor with a defective and inefficient braking system.

"Mr Neil's practice of pinning the loaded front arms to the ground to anchor the tractor was rendered ineffective by the gradient of the ramp on which he had parked the vehicle and the depleted power of the hydraulics powering the front loader arising from a leaking hydraulic system which would have been made even less effective if loaded with hayledge.

"The parking brake whether applied or not was ineffective through wear and incapable of holding the tractor in place while positioned on a gradient. The sheer weight of the tractor was sufficient to pin Mr Thomas Neil to the gates and restrict his overall movement and particularly his ability to inflate his lungs."

Industry experts have voiced their concerns over the validity of some Thorough Examinations following the discovery of a fork lift truck which was given a clean bill of health by an inspector – despite the presence of serious structural damage.

Just weeks later, the truck’s poor state of repair, which rendered the truck unsafe and unlawful, was discovered during a routine service carried out by an experienced fork lift truck engineer who, fortunately for the customer, happened to be qualified as a Competent Person for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks under a scheme developed by the industry’s own experts.

The watchful engineer quickly identified visible damage to the truck’s overhead guard which could have compromised protection against falling objects such as laden pallets displaced at height. As a result of further investigation he also identified hitherto unnoticed cracks to both the chassis and the carriage. Moreover, because he was so knowledgeable about fork trucks the service engineer also identified the cause of the damage to the overhead guard: apparently it was being used as an anchor point for towing a 7.5 tonne lorry!

“For the stress to have caused this damage to the guard it is quite likely that other structural damage will have been done to the fork lift truck, some of which may put the operator at even greater risk explains Chas Day, technical manager of CFTS, which administers the scheme to which the vigilant engineer is accredited. “Yet the owner of the truck was completely unaware of any problems.

“Having been told that his truck had passed its Thorough Examination he would, quite naturally, have expected it to be operating safely and legally. However, the extent of damage to this particular truck meant it was a potential killer – and almost certainly unlawful.”

“The reason this went unnoticed is that under some inspections – including the original one undertaken on this particular truck – only those items covered under LOLER 98 legislation such as mast, chains and forks) are checked. In the view of CFTS and most experienced fork truck specialists that really is literally doing just half the job. How can anyone claim to have properly inspected a truck for safety when those items that come under PUWER 98 – such as overhead guards… steering… even brakes are simply ignored.”

“It was to create a rigorous and truly comprehensive inspection procedure that CFTS was created by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) in co-operation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It is our belief that safety must never be compromised. There cannot ever be any half measures.”

“Indeed, the issue goes further than this. If the culture at the operator’s site allows or even encourages this sort of action then what other risks are being taken? A properly conducted Thorough Examination – carried out by a specialist rather than a generalist – can help to highlight a variety of dangerous operational activities. As a result, the truck owner benefits from added value by using a CFTS accredited company with a competent person who knows and understands fork lift trucks.

“I would urge any director or manager who is responsible for fork lift trucks to ensure they comply fully with the law. Our website www.thoroughexamination.org answers many frequently asked questions and features a very clear video that gives a useful overview of what is involved in a CFTS Thorough Examination.”

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