How thorough is thorough?
21 January 2016
CFTS is asking employers to think about how long each ‘Thorough Examination’ of their fork lifts is taking – and to question whether inspections are thorough enough to assure legal compliance and truck safety.
“We regularly hear of Thorough Examinations being completed in as little as 10 to 15 minutes,” says CFTS technical manager (north) Shaun Prendergast. “That’s simply not enough to do a proper job.”
Set up as a joint initiative between the Fork Lift Truck Association and British Industrial Truck Association, CFTS (Consolidated Fork Truck Services) is responsible for the comprehensive procedure and strict code of practice for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks which is followed by the scheme’s national network of accredited Thorough Examination providers.
“A CFTS inspection of a small three-wheel electric truck typically takes at least 45 minutes, while a 2.5 tonne IC engine truck might take between 1.25 and 1.5 hours. As the complexity of the truck increases, the inspections grow longer. A conventional telescopic handler, for example, would take around three hours to inspect properly.”
What takes up all this extra time?
The CFTS examination is more detailed, with a longer list of components and systems to check than many inspections. Prendergast explains: “The standard CFTS checklist, on its own, contains 33 items. Each of these is expanded on, with clear instructions given in BITA Guidance Note 28 (Thorough Examination and Safety Inspections of Industrial Lift Trucks). This forms the basis for CFTS inspections.”
Last year, to help truck users discover what’s covered by a CFTS Thorough Examination, the body launched a series of free, online interactive guides. Visitors to the CFTS website (www.thoroughexamination.org) simply hover over a part of the truck to discover what’s checked and, more importantly, why it’s so crucial to a truck’s safety.
“CFTS Thorough Examinations are not just visual,” adds Prendergast. “They include physical checks and measurements. For example, a CFTS-accredited inspector will frequently jack up the truck to examine the steering and linkages and will use a purpose-designed chain gauge to measure chain wear rather than just judging by eye or with a tape measure.
“After all, when it comes to workers safety and legal compliance, there’s no room for guesswork. A poor choice of Thorough Examination provider could result in a heavy fine, a Health and Safety Executive FFI (Fee For Intervention), or even a horrific accident and prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act.”