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The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.

thorOUGH Examinations standards by cfts explained

forklift truck thorough examinationsThis article is by Shaun Prendergast who is the Technical Manager, (North), for CFTS, the body that established the UK standard for thorough examination of fork lift trucks. It originally appeared in SHD Logistics Magazine.

If you oversee forklift truck operations, you'll be familiar with the term ‘Thorough Examination’, but what does it actually mean? With recent changes in legislation, it's important to understand why it's required and, more importantly, what it means in practice.

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 regulations: 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 twelve 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 forklift 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 or 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 kite mark 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 CFT S 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.


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.

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