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CFTS clears up hire confusion

11 September 2015

Uncertainty over responsibility for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks could be placing thousands of businesses renting fork lift trucks at risk of prosecution, according to inspection experts CFTS.

Nationwide research (1) carried out on behalf of CFTS has revealed that 84% of supervisors and managers surveyed incorrectly hold their materials handling provider at least partially accountable for ensuring their truck holds a current Report of Thorough Examination. 

More worrying, 30% of respondents, who oversee operations of one or more fork lift trucks, believed that their service provider – as the truck’s owner – is solely responsible for this essential task.  Again this is not the case.

CFTS Chairman Mike Mathias explains: "Users and fleet owners should be fully aware of their responsibilities: whether their truck is owned outright or on hire. Knowing that any fork lift truck operator is unclear about this indicates that they are receiving inappropriate advice, if any at all.

"Under Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), the employer of a fork lift truck operator has a duty of care to make sure that a fork lift truck in use is safe. 

"When a truck is owned outright by the employer, that implication is clear: the employer must arrange a regular Thorough Examination schedule appropriate to the truck and its use. 

"But when a truck is hired, many incorrectly assume that this mandatory obligation is is covered under the maintenance contract… when it is not. 

"When a truck is hired or leased long term , employers remain duty-bound to ensure that lift trucks are safe for their employees to use and are thoroughly examined at the appropriate intervals.”  

CFTS points out that it is important for the hire company and the hirer to establish which party will carry out Thorough Examinations. Hirers need to ensure that necessary inspections and pre-use checks are carried out and defects reported and remedied as necessary. 

Mr Mathias continues: "The responsibility changes when a truck is rented on a short-term basis, aka casual hire. The rental company, as the owner of the equipment, is responsible for arranging Thorough Examinations. 

"However, the employer of the operator still has a duty of care and must still be satisfied that the truck is legally compliant. Usually, this means insisting that a copy of the Report of Thorough Examination is included with the rental documentation.”  

To find out more about Thorough Examination, including how often it’s required, what it covers and what CFTS-accredited companies operate in your area (there are 500 nationwide), visit www.thoroughexamination.org. 

(1) Fork Lift Truck Association Managers and Supervisors Survey, 2012



CFTS: The national standard

During a CFTS Thorough Examination, a Competent Person must undertake a comprehensive examination which will meet the requirements of both LOLER 98 and PUWER 98. 

Under LOLER 98, the truck’s lifting equipment will be inspected, including: 



Tilt mechanism



Load guard

Attachments/side shift (if fitted)

Hydraulic system

Rating plate

In addition, other vital, safety-related components will be checked to meet PUWER 98, such as:

Overhead guard


Wheels and tyres


Seat mountings

Safety equipment

Traction system


Employers: please ensure your current provider inspects all these items before agreeing to let them carry out your next Thorough Examination.