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thorough examinations. what happens when an inspector calls?

thorough examinationsThis article is by CFTS and explains what happens when an inspector calls to examine your forklift truck.

Q: What happens when an HSE inspector calls? ...and what triggers their alarm bells?

A systematic and detailed examination of lifting equipment, otherwise known as a Thorough Examination, has been identified by the HSE as a key indicator of a company’s overall approach to health and safety.

Which should come as no surprise. If a forklift is not maintained regularly to ensure it is safe, what does that say about the overall health and safety standards within an organisation?

How long do inspections last… and what do they look for?

The duration of an HSE inspection can vary according to a number of factors, including company size, complexity and work activity. The inspector does not have the luxury of assessing health and safety in all aspects of the business which means they must focus on a few key behaviours that reflect a broader picture. When it comes to forklifts and similar work equipment that typically means exploring:

Thorough Examination and maintenance of lift trucks (covering both LOLER and PUWER)*
Arrangements for ensuring lift trucks and pedestrians can move safely around the workplace
Competence of lift truck operators

These are clear indicators of an organisation’s attitude towards health and safety and if deficiencies are found in any of them, then inspectors may well take enforcement action.

*LOLER covers forks and lifting components while PUWER covers steering, brakes, safety systems, etc. It’s important to check your Thorough Examination covers both since you, as the employer, are responsible should anything go wrong.

What are the penalties?

If you are prosecuted, conviction is almost certain. Conviction rates are running at 94% and fines are at their highest ever (with a growing number exceeding £1,000,000).

Where can I get advice about Thorough Examinations?

You can get the advice you need at any of our 800+ CFTS-accredited depots throughout the UK. CFTS-accredited providers can explain what must be inspected in a Thorough Examination that meets HSE guidelines.

NB: This could be the time to check your current arrangements to make sure they comply.

To find your nearest CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination provider visit

For further advice visit the HSE website at

Disclaimer. The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.

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