A Thorough Examination (TE) is a mandatory inspection required by law to ensure that the mechanical parts of a forklift truck are in safe working order and is roughly equivalent to the MOT for cars. Work equipment must be examined at least once a year.
TE must cover both, the lifting mechanism under LOLER 98 and the safe use of a forklift truck under PUWER 98. Use Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) accredited companies to ensure that TE is carried out by an accredited examiner with stringent standards and procedures that meets the LOLER and PUWER regulations. CFTS is part of UK Material Handling Association (UKMHA). Only CFTS accredited companies can use the distinctive kitemark on their literature, certification and reports, and can place the CFTS stickers on the forklift trucks they inspect.
TE should include the following to meet the LOLER and PUWER requirements:
Mast – must be inspected throughout its full range of movement
Chains – chain failure is potentially damaging and therefore must be tested for wear, elongation and corrosion which are often tricky to spot. Measurements in at least three places are essential. A change of 3% means that the chains have to be replaced. Chain anchor points and pulleys also need checking.
Load Backrest – essential to keep forklift loads from falling backwards. The load backrest must be inspected to make sure it is structurally sound and securely mounted.
Carriage – the forklift arm carrier must be checked for distortion and cracking
Forks – the fork arms must be of correct capacity. Inspect for signs of wear, cracks, deformation and splaying
Tilt Mechanism – must move in a controlled and even manner with no signs of damage or scoring
Hydraulic Systems – forklift hydraulic systems, cylinders, reservoir, hoses and pipes must be checked thoroughly
Rating Plate – must be securely attached, legible and have a capacity rating for the forklift truck
Controls – all control cables and linkages must be checked for correct operation, corrosion, damage and signs of potential failure.
Overhead Guard or Cab - provides protection from falling loads. Damaged overhead guard or cab could be sign of structural problems. It should be checked to ensure it is sound and securely mounted
Seat Restraint and seat mounting – seat belts and other devices are designed to keep the forklift operator safely seated in an event of tipping. They should be securely mounted and free from damage. Seat mountings must be secured as well as the panel to which it is mounted.
Traction System – on internal combustion engine (ICE) forklift trucks the prime mover and transmission should be checked as well as the exhaust system. For electric forlift trucks, check the battery connections.
Brakes – all service and parking brake systems must work as expected. Brake failure could be catastrophic and could cause a lot of damage and hence must be thoroughly checked.
Chassis – check for damage and cracking in the welds
Wheels and Tyres – are vital for the sound running of the forklift truck. Wheels must be in sound condition and securely fixed. Tyres must be checked for wear, damage and bonding failure.
Counterweight – in ICE forklifts as the batteries provide the counterweight in electric ones. Counterweights could weigh as much as 2 tonnes or more and therefore ensure that it is securely fixed and undamaged.
Safety Systems – all safety systems should be checked to ensure that they function properly including visible and audible warning devices.
Recently, there have been a number of clarifications to GN28, the industry guidance. These include the requirement to carry out the TE every six months for lorry mounted trucks where the operator can be lifted with the truck and also for attachments not permanently mounted to the forklift truck. Click here to read more on the clarifications to GN28.
Safety must be of paramount importance to any organisation using a forklift truck. This includes training of the operator as well as ensuring that the forklift truck is safe to use.
Wallace School of Transport is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 50 years' experience. You can be trained either at your own work site or at Wallace Centre in Park Royal. If you have any questions, call Wallace Forklift Training on 020 8453 3440, choose option 3 or click here to email us.