Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From Logistics Companies to Retailers All Fork Lift Trucks Require Regular Safety Inspections

Not Just Road Haulage Groups Which Have to Undertake Mandatory Equipment Examinations
Shipping News Feature
UK – Whilst any road haulage outfit worth its salt ensures that its vehicles are subjected to the regular mandatory checks, from the daily walk round to scheduled maintenance, the same outfits can be remiss in another area which has the potential to make them vulnerable to expensive claims and fines, and even the possibility of sanctions against the logistic company's directors, up to and including imprisonment. All cargo handling operations of any size, from retailers to freight forwarders, make use of the ubiquitous fork lift truck, but how many are aware of the regulations which require them to undertake Thorough Examinations at least annually?

This month some twenty years ago, driven by the EU requirements of the Use of Work Equipment Directive (AUWED), the UK introduced two new sets of regulations governing the industry. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). While LOLER addresses the forklift’s lifting mechanism, including the mast, forks and chains, PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) covers the truck’s safety-critical components, including brakes and steering.

Now CFTS, the operation formed by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) has taken the opportunity of pointing out this month the requirements of the two Acts on their respective 20th anniversaries. According to CFTS complying with the demands LOLER and PUWER has never been so tough for employers, or so costly. CFTS Chairman Geoff Martin points out however that the price for non-compliance can be much heavier.

The introduction of Fee for Intervention (FFI), Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act and updates to the Approved Code of Practice (L117), means assumptions can be dangerous, and the lack of clarity over those annual Thorough Examinations as to exactly what is required can leave companies vulnerable. Martin points out some of the subtle distinctions between an examination, thorough or otherwise, citing chain condition as an example.

Lifting chains are one of the most essential, and vulnerable, fork lift components. A chain examination can be a visual scan with perhaps a tightening up if slackness is detected. A proper test however includes a check of the links with a gauge designed specifically for this purpose, and only when an incident occurs and records are checked by the relevant authorities will the difference be noted, far too late to make a difference.

CFTS has a list of companies accredited to carry out these specialised checks leaving the customer certain that they have not only complied with the law, but ensured their operatives are using the safest possible equipment. CFTS carries further guidance on its website, including videos and interactive guides and the chance to find the suppliers which are their nearest recommended inspectors.