How to ensure your fork trucks are covered by ‘Thorough Examination’

If you own a car, it’s a legal requirement to have an MOT. If you’re caught driving without one, you can face a hefty fine - and with good reason. The MOT exists to ensure that your car is safe to drive, to limit the risk of harming yourself or others. It stands to reason, then, that legislation exists ensures the safety of forklift trucks in the workplace. After all, a fault in a piece of heavy machinery such as a forklift truck could cause serious harm to your employees if not fixed.


The equivalent to an MOT for forklifts in the UK is called ‘Thorough Examination’ - and it must be carried out at least once per year on every forklift. However, dependent on the type of truck, how often it’s used, and what kind of environment it’s used in, it may require a Thorough Examination much more frequently than this. Check the official website here to find out how often each of your trucks will need to be examined.

The responsibility of employers


As an employer whose employees require forklifts to do their job, it falls on you to make sure that all of your vehicles are covered by Thorough Examination at all times. Even if the vehicle is hired - rather than owned by yourself outright - then it is still your responsibility to ensure it’s covered. This will come at a financial cost, but it’s one that’s worth paying. Not only does it decrease the possibility of accidents, but it means that if accidents do occur, you won’t be liable to be prosecuted.

So, as long as you get your forklifts checked once a year - or however much government guidelines recommend that you should - you should be covered, right? Actually, think again.

Quality of examinations differs wildly.


It’s all well and good having your yearly examination, but you need to make sure that the examination is of a good enough quality. Otherwise, you could end up thinking that you’re covered, even though the examiner has only done half a job. This could leave you in the incredibly unfortunate situation of facing a fine or legal action in the event of an accident, even though you’ve already paid to have your vehicle examined. How can this be possible?

Sadly, there are plenty of examiners out there who will merely examine the lifting component of your vehicle, ignoring other vital components such as the tyres, the chassis, the steering and the brakes. Let’s face it, it’s pretty difficult to argue that a vehicle is definitely safe if its brakes haven’t been checked. To make sure you don’t get caught out, ensure that your examiner is accredited by Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS). If your forklift passes a test by a CFTS accredited examiner, you’re sorted. At Hitec, not only are we CFTS accredited, but all of our examiners are CFTS accredited too. So customers know that with us, they’re getting a full service, not just a half service. One less thing for our clients to worry about.

But what if your truck fails?

Consistent forklift maintenance of is vital


As they say, prevention is better than cure. Your fork truck operators should be trained to inspect the vehicles they use, and should do so on a daily basis. You then need to implement a system in your workplace whereby operators can report issues and have them resolved quickly. This kind of reactive, consistent maintenance will leave the majority of your trucks in a good state, and reduce the possibility of them failing the Thorough Examination. It’s also worth having a full service done every year, so that any problems that have gone unnoticed by your operators can be picked up on, and fixed.

So, to ensure that your trucks are Thorough Examination compliant, you need to:

  1. Find out if it’s your responsibility to sort out Thorough Examination. If you employ people who use forklifts - even if you hire the vehicles - it’s your responsibility. If you’re a forklift operator employed by someone else, it’s your boss’ responsibility.

  2. Make sure that forklift truck operators inspect the vehicles every day before using them.

  3. Create a system whereby operators can easily report faults, and have them fixed quickly.

  4. Have each truck serviced at least once every year, so that any issues can be highlighted and rectified ahead of its Thorough Examination.

  5. Ensure that you get a CFTS-accredited examiner to look at your vehicles. If you don’t, your vehicles may not be covered without you realising.

HITEC specialises in hire and sales of materials handling vehicles, including forklift trucks. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you with your material handling needs.

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