space


Guidance for Fork Lift Truck Owners

General

This information sheet contains guidance notes on good practice for the maintenance and safety of fork lift trucks. The status of this guidance note is advisory and not mandatory, unless the note indicates that it is included in the legislation. It is designed to assist Fork Lift Truck owners in identifying their responsibilities.

Fork Lift Trucks

Generally and unless equipment is provided for private use unrelated to the workplace, it is likely that Fork Lift Trucks would be recognised as workplace equipment and subject to the appropriate legislation. Also included would be equipment, accessories and associated ties, bolts, eyes, cages, chains and fixing equipment designed for lifting use with the Fork Lift Truck.

General Responsibilities

The main legal responsibilities are designed to ensure the safe use and operation of the Fork Lift Truck. This includes fitness for purpose, proper use, lifting operations, operator training and competence, safe equipment through servicing, maintenance and inspection and associated record keeping. Employers and those responsible for the workplace have responsibilities for their employees and other persons working on their site. Employees also have responsibilities in respect of their actions and also to report dangerous or potentially dangerous activity. In addition owners/employers have specific legal responsibilities to ensure work equipment is properly maintained and, where legislated, undergo a thorough examination.

Thorough Examination

LOLER 1998 states that a fork lift truck will require a thorough examination by a competent person at certain periods and after significant repair or modification to the equipment to assess its continued safety. This is more than just an inspection of equipment assessing its condition at the time of examination. The thorough examination requires a full risk assessment of its safety and suitability for purpose and includes use, the environment, rate of deterioration and other influencing factors as well as the condition of the equipment.

This is normally carried out by an engineer surveyor, who is specifically trained and competent to undertake such tasks. In addition the thorough examination should not be confused with maintenance or servicing although some activities may be similar. The thorough examination may provide a check that maintenance is being carried out but is not intended to replace it.

Any competent person can carry out a thorough examination but the owner is responsible for ensuring the person is competent. In addition the HSE recommend that "it is essential the competent person is also sufficiently independent and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made". Independence in this case means a separate reporting chain from other services on the truck such as servicing, maintenance, hire or supply (manufacture).

Guidance(3) on the inspection body standard advises that the person carrying out the thorough examination should not be the same person servicing or maintaining the equipment unless specifically allowed in the legislation (eg nuclear industry), otherwise they could be checking their own work.

The legal requirement from a thorough examination is a completed report in accordance with LOLER 1998 as soon as is practicable. This report should list general particulars of the owner, premises, truck etc, type of examination and periodicity and associated tests carried out together with the results of any defects identified which are or could become a danger to persons, repairs required and due date. The report should be signed y the competent person or his representative, dated and indicate the date when the next thorough examination is due.

The competent person may add other notes, advice, minor defects not amounting to a danger to persons or recommendations as appropriate. The report should be kept by the owner/duty holder until the next thorough examination and for two years as an audit trail should the local authority or HSE request this.