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Why Is Forklift Servicing Important?

When working with any heavy duty machinery, ensuring that regular servicing and repairs are carried out is a must, and forklifts are definitely no exception to this. HSE statistic show that between 2001 and 2006, there were 21,190 reported injuries as a result of forklift accidents, with 94 of these being fatal and 5,758 major, and has subsequently drawn up an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) to standardise forklift safety use. The code stipulates a number of regulations, including stating the minimum amount of training that all forklift users must undergo.

Forklift safety

Following a couple of high profile forklift accidents recently, safety issues concerning lifting vehicles are back in the spotlight, highlighting the need for regular safety training and vehicle servicing. One instance saw an unnamed 59-year-old lose a leg to amputation following a forklift accident, while in April of this year, an Essex firm was charged over £60,000 for two separate incidents of neglectful upkeep of lift truck machinery, having gone over 12 months without carrying out sufficient safety checks.

This last case is an important one, as it highlights the need – both legally and for safety reasons – to perform regular maintenance on all forklifts. There are now nationally imposed, industry wide rules pertaining to lifting equipment servicing, referred to as a ‘Thorough Examination’. Similar to how an MOT works for a car, this check-up is a statuary requirement governed by Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998, Regulation 9.

The LOLER certification covers all elements of the mast, hydraulics and other lifting components, although some parts of the vehicle’s operation will require further accreditation in line with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). This inspects areas concerning the functionality of non-lifting components, including conveyor belts, pallets and other load-bearing elements. The regulation stipulates that any components that are at risk of deterioration over time and in particular environments be inspected on a regular basis.

However, some checks fail to inspect every single aspect of the forklift’s operation, which is why the Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) have developed its own highly detailed standard for performing Thorough Examinations. Devised in 2004, 6 years after the initial LOLER regulations, the CFTS tests cover every aspect of forklift operation, including tyres, chassis, steering components, brakes and much more. The inspection should last roughly an hour, and any examination that lasts less than 45 minutes should be questioned.

Not only does this ensure a far more stringent test, improving safety levels immeasurably, it is also approved by the HSE, guaranteeing that it is properly assessed and regulated by relevant industry bodies.

It’s important to note that the Thorough Examination is not the same as general maintenance, so whether or not you have had a LOLER check carried out, you will still need to perform these regular checks. The expert team at East Midlands Forklifts are on hand to provide thorough and detailed servicing of all forklift models, ensuring that your vehicles remain in line with all industry regulations regarding operation, and avoiding any costly fines or potentially serious injuries within your company.

Our accredited Service Management System allows for our engineers to be fully informed – via a message sent from our control office to their PDAs – about the nature of your repair requirements before arriving at your premises, allowing for a rapid service with response times of less than 4 hours. The Management System also keeps a log of work that has been carried out on your vehicles, keeping a record of everything from servicing schedules to cost audits from any given time period, as well as tracking your Thorough Examination schedules to ensure that all regulations are met.

For more information about our servicing and repairs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with East Midlands Forklifts today.

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