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Make sure testers have the tools

30 April 2022

When it comes to Thorough Examinations, the right tools will provide detailed measurements that reflect the true state of your equipment. Here CFTS chairman Geoff Martin reveals which tools are essential for Thorough Examinations, and why inspection providers with empty toolkits should be a major red flag for owners.

A Thorough Examination provider should inspect all safety-critical parts as required by LOLER and PUWER regulations. It’s the law. 

That means checking the entire vehicle from the top of a truck mast to the belly plate. 

But this isn’t a case of kicking the tyres and giving everything a cursory once-over. Leaving it to guesswork puts you at risk of undetected faults, unexpected downtime and expensive repairs. 

Proper measurements need to be taken to ensure the truck is working within the legal safety guidelines. And that requires specialist technical instruments. 

The right tools for the job

Inspection providers accredited to the CFTS Thorough Examination scheme will never make assumptions as to the status of your truck. Uniquely, they come fully equipped with a wide range of tools designed to gain accurate, replicable measurements that show exact increments of wear. 

Importantly, in many cases, the evidence can be viewed by the truck owner. This transparency means you can be confident that your equipment has been examined in detail, and that it is safe to use, but also that chains, etc. are not being replaced or repaired prematurely.

A CFTS examiner will use these tools to assess the whole truck and identify faults so that these can be repaired sooner rather than later. 

Here are some of the key things that should appear in a Thorough Examination provider’s toolkit.

Professional Fork Wear Gauge: Launched in 2022, the FB Professional Fork Wear Gauge was designed by CFTS Technical Manager Matthew Kennedy and developed by FB Chain. The Fork Wear Gauge precisely measures the percentage of wear (between 0-10%) on fork heels. If fork wear exceeds 10% it must be removed from service immediately.

Professional Chain Wear Gauge: Accurately measures leaf chain and roller chain wear by indicating the percentage of elongation. This will show you how close your chains are to needing a replacement.

Digital or manual vernier caliper: Uses a calculation formula to measure wear on fork heels.

Fork wear caliper: Checks fork angle, fork hooks and fork blade maximum wear (only 10% and above).

Digital angle protractor and set square: Measures fork angles to ensure damaged or bent forks do not go beyond manufactured limits (typically +/- 3 degrees).

Other kit may include a harness for working at height, truck blocks to secure equipment, torches to inspect defects, UV torches for crack detection, toe jacks for better access, rachet straps to secure masts and forks, mast blocks for checking wear on mast pivot brushes and for securing equipment during steering inspections, cones or barriers to ensure inspections take place in segregated areas, rulers and tape measures.

It’s all in the detail 

These tools are a powerful indicator of the type of inspection you will receive. If your inspection provider doesn’t come equipped with these items, there is every chance your truck is not being assessed to the very highest standard. 

Defects could be missed, and if left undetected even small things can turn into big problems later on. Components could fail, which could lead to inconvenient and costly downtime while you’re waiting for repairs or, in a worst-case scenario, a faulty truck could cause a serious accident. Why would you risk putting your operators, your equipment or your business at risk.

Make a note of what your inspector brings with them, and also how long the inspection takes. Depending on the complexity of the equipment a Thorough Examination can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple of hours. Anything less could mean corners are being cut.

To gain an accurate barometer of a truck’s condition, find your nearest CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination provider at www.thoroughexamination.org