Geoff Martin is President of CFTS – the industry accreditation body for in-depth examinations of material handling equipment.
A recent survey by Total UK found that some nine million UK drivers don’t know when their car’s MOT (road condition) is due. That’s 28% of all drivers.
It would be interesting to see how similar the results would be if this same research was carried out among the managers responsible for arranging periodic inspections of their forklifts (periodic safety inspection of lifting equipment is known in the UK under the name of in-depth examination).
We’ll never know the answer, but what we do know is that it’s not simple, but it’s vitally important…for many different reasons.
Checking for deterioration and damage, a thorough examination, performed by a competent person, could be all that stands between normal activity and a costly loss of production or, even worse, a catastrophic accident.
In the UK, your Thorough Examination Certificate is also an essential piece of evidence should you ever be inspected by the Health and Safety Executive, the UK body responsible for enforcing health and safety policy.
Each country has its own regulations and regulatory bodies, so it is wise to familiarize yourself with local laws. Although, as we’ll see in a moment, it pays to meet or even exceed these standards.
In-Depth Review: What Is It and How Often Is It Needed?
According to the UK Health & Safety Executive: “A thorough examination of industrial forklifts is required under the Health and Safety Act: LOLER 1998, which covers lifting equipment, and PUWER 1998, which deals with all other safety-related items, such as brakes, steering and tires. Your regular inspections as part of a preventative maintenance program or scheduled maintenance do not constitute a thorough examination.”
In many countries, a thorough review (or your local equivalent) is required at least once a year from the date of creation, but the frequency actually depends on the nature of the request, so inspections may be required. needed every six months or even more often. Factors that increase frequency include the intensity of operations, corrosive environments, and whether the equipment is used to lift personnel.
The European Federation of Materials Handling provides free advice on periodic inspection of industrial trucks in FEM 4.004 at www.fem-eur.com, and if you operate in the UK you can find out how often you need an in-depth review and see what’s covered on different types of equipment at www.thoroughexamination.org
The ripple effect
Chances are your forklifts or warehouse carts are vital parts of your day-to-day operation, which is why a regular health check is essential to identify and repair faults before something goes wrong or fails. become much bigger and more expensive, problem.
But there is a ripple effect which means that an accident or breakdown is rarely a stand-alone event. It has a much wider impact. At a minimum, you could find yourself without the equipment for a while, compromising productivity or delaying deliveries (possibly incurring penalties). This could involve replacing equipment – either on a short-term or permanent basis – with all the hassle, bills and additional delays that come with it.
If the defect results in an impact/accident, there is the cost of abandoned stock to be disposed of and replaced. Shelving or the warehouse environment could be damaged and require an area to be closed for repairs. Worse still, it could result in the injury or death of a colleague. Not only does this change the life of the individual and their family, but you also face subsequent inspections, lawsuits, lawsuits and reputational damage.
A necessary evil… or a godsend?
Let’s be honest, most of us treat our car’s MOT as a checkbox to be able to carry on as normal. Instead, we should see it as an opportunity to avoid both accidents and preventable mechanical breakdowns; failures that could so easily have been spotted by periodic inspection.
An in-depth review does the same thing – but more.
So even if you know when your next in-depth review is due, it makes sense to reassess your regular supplier and ensure that whoever is performing the inspection:
· Works to agreed, accredited and monitored national standards;
· Meets the requirements of national legislation (in the UK this is both LOLER and PUWER as required by the HSE);
· Uses the most accurate measuring equipment (such as chain gauges and fork gauges) to ensure truly accurate wear measurements of key parts.
These are the standards we require of each of the over 700 depots accredited under the CFTS in-depth examination program across the UK.