When we’re working with forklifts day in and day out, we forget that they’re a dangerous bit of kit. Recently, the operation a poorly maintained forklift, left one teenager hospitalised with serious injuries. And a businessman’s livelihood in ruins.
Courts recently heard of how a 17-year-old worker was left hospitalised for two weeks. He had had his his leg trapped by a poorly maintained forklift. The truck, which was on loan from another business for six months, had a catalogue of defects, including stuck ignition keys and faulty steering. Would you drive a car in this condition?
Of course not!
Cases such as this are a strong reminder of the importance of routine forklift examinations. You should treat examinations like the MOT on your car, which is prescribed by law in many countries. Had the company in question fully understood its responsibility to keep its trucks in good working order, it might have avoided the accident altogether and the prosecution and fines that followed.
REPORT OF THOROUGH EXAMINATION
In the UK, the laws governing the use of forklift trucks aren’t easily understood, so there’s room for interpretation… and misinterpretation.
One thing is certain, though. It is your responsibility, as the employer of the truck driver, to make sure your forklift complies with the law. This means making sure that your truck carries a valid Report of Thorough Examination – even if it is rented for just a single day.
Neglecting to do so, or doing it incorrectly, can lead to serious and often fatal accidents, prosecutions and heavy fines.
Let’s be clear on another thing: this comprehensive procedure is not the same as routine maintenance or many insurance inspections. Thorough Examination is a full assessment which goes well beyond the current condition of the equipment. This rigorous test looks at the factors affecting the safe use of your truck, including its application and rate of deterioration.
Every forklift more than 12 months old – including hire trucks – must hold a current Report Examination which will need revalidating at least annually. However, some trucks – such as man-up models or those working in particularly demanding applications may require a Thorough Examination more frequently as frequently as once every three months.
Where do you go for help? In the UK we would recommend CFTS as your first port of call. Formed by the industry’s two leading bodies – the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) in association with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – CFTS is the only inspection that covers the requirements of both PUWER 98 and LOLER 98.
If in any doubt, give us a call and we’ll talk you through everything you need to do…
The Welfaux Conclusion
Remember, a thorough examination is a legal requirement, not a guideline. Treating it as such could be the detriment to you and your business. Also, don’t confuse Thorough Examinations as routine maintenance; it’s a good idea to inspect your truck as frequently as once every 3 months.
Lastly, don’t forget that if you fit an attachment that, too, will require a Report of Thorough Examination.