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A Thorough Examination covers the checks thought necessary to ensure equipment complies with Health & Safety Law. It is a “systematic and detailed examination” of critical parts carried out at specified intervals by a competent person who must then complete a written report – in essence, the forklift “M.O.T”.

It stems from the Health & Safety Executive’s definition and guidance:

“Thorough examination of industrial lift trucks is required under health and safety law: LOLER 1998, which covers lifting equipment, and PUWER 1998, which deals with all other safety-related items, such as brakes, steering and tyres. Your regular inspections as part of a preventive maintenance scheme or scheduled service are not a thorough examination.”

Both the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 build on previous regulations, but do not refer to equipment used by the public (that comes under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974).

A valid Thorough Examination is legally mandatory, so if you own, lease or hire a forklift truck without one and an accident occurs, it could lead to prosecution or invalid insurance. The competence of the inspection, as well as the keeping of appropriate records, is crucial for legal compliance.

Some components (chains, masts and controls for example) are obvious items that are covered, but others, (load backrest, rating plate, tilt cylinders, seat mounting and hoses) are equally important but less obvious. The relevant checks also vary based on the type of equipment being inspected, i.e. a sideloaders requires different checks to a reach truck.

For further information see: HSE Guide to LOLER

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