More and more employers are recognising the need for Safe Systems of Work (SSOW) as a systematic and recognised method for carrying tasks out safely and complying with HSE guidance.

Nowhere is this more important than in operations that involve the use of forklift and warehouse trucks. Workplace transport accounts for some 1300 injuries and deaths in the UK each year, and employers have a duty to ensure the equipment is both safely operated and properly maintained.

Creating a SSOW can be quite complex and is often broken down into 5 steps: task assessment; hazard identification and risk assessment; defining safe methods; implementing the system and monitoring the system. But one important first step (that can be quickly and easily implemented even before embarking on your SSOW) is to ensure that the handling equipment you are using is fit-for-purpose and in safe working condition. One obvious – and mandatory – way of achieving this is through a truly comprehensive Thorough Examination.

A Thorough Examination should cover two key aspects of a forklift or warehouse truck. The first is the lifting mechanism, which is covered by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). The second includes a host of crucial components such as steering and brakes, which must be inspected in order to meet the requirements of PUWER.

It may come as a surprise, therefore, to discover that many examinations do not comply with the PUWER element. In addition, those carrying out the assessment are not always equipped with the necessary tools. To combat this inconsistency, the CFTS Thorough Examination was created covering both pieces of legislation, and providers accredited to the CFTS standard follow a strict Quality Assurance Procedural code.

“As an employer, you’ll be aware of your duties of care in minimising health and safety risks in your workplace,” says Geoff Martin, Chairman of leading accrediting body CFTS. “However, I would urge every reader to check exactly what is undertaken by their existing Thorough Examination provider. Does their checklist cover brakes and steering? Are your Thorough Examinations being carried out at the correct intervals? Are your attachments receiving the necessary scrutiny? Are your inspections being carried out with the correct frequency? Depending on your application, forklifts and warehouse equipment may need a Thorough Examination more frequently than once a year.

“A proper Thorough Examination may be a single element in a complex SSOW but it is a vital one… as long as it’s done to the right standard. By using a CFTS-accredited provider, you can be sure that your equipment is receiving a truly Thorough Examination compliant with every aspect of the law.”

To find out more about CFTS Thorough Examinations, including how often they should be undertaken and what should be examined in order to comply with HSE recommendations, visit www.thoroughexamination.org

 

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