Thorough Examination – what must be inspected?

In a Thorough Examination each lifting part must be inspected in line with LOLER, while all other components affecting safety must be checked according to PUWER. 

All forklift trucks must undergo a Thorough Examination at least once a year to ensure they are in safe working condition according to two key pieces of Health and Safety legislation, LOLER and PUWER. 

Components covered by LOLER 

LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) requires inspection of the following lifting components to protect against the specific risks of raising and lowering a load.  

  • Mast – The mast must demonstrate smooth, controlled movement throughout its full range. 
  • Hydraulic systems – The hydraulic cylinders, reservoir, hoses and pipes must be carefully inspected, while the filters should be checked for debris. 
  • Tilt mechanism – The tilt must show no signs of damage or scoring and move in a controlled, even manner. 
  • Chains – Chains must be measured for wear in three places and replaced immediately at 3% wear. Unlike other ‘worn or not worn’ gauges, the FB Professional Chain Wear Gauge shows the exact percentage wear, so the Competent Person knows how close the wear is to the limit and can judge how safe the chain is. The chain anchor points and pulleys must also be checked. 
  • Forks – The Competent Person must ensure the forks are of the correct capacity and check for signs of cracks, deformation and splaying. Detailed measurements are required to ensure that wear has not exceeded 10%. The FB Professional Fork Wear Gauge is another valuable tool for quickly and easily identifying the exact percentage wear. The means of fork location and end stops must also be checked.  
  • Carriage – The fork arm and carrier must be checked for distortion or cracking. 
  • Load backrest – The load backrest needs to be checked to make sure it is securely mounted and structurally sound. The mounting and soundness of any load backrest extension must also be inspected.  
  • Attachments and side shifts – Permanently fitted attachments and side shifts are to be checked within the forklift truck’s usual Thorough Examination interval. If they are removable, they must be inspected at least twice a year. They must be mounted securely, operate smoothly and evenly throughout their full range of movement, and show no signs of distortion or cracks. 
  • Controls – All controls, cables and linkages must be in full working order and show no signs of damage or corrosion. The Competent Person must also ensure they are securely mounted, and their function is clearly marked. 
  • Rating plate – Capacity data plates must show the capacity rating for the truck and any attachments fitted. They must be securely attached and fully legible. If the forklift truck is equipped with a load capacity indicator, the operator must be able to see the information clearly. 

Components covered by PUWER 

PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) covers all other components that affect the safety of the forklift truck. 

  • Counterweight – The counterweight must be securely fastened and checked for damage, along with any other structural components and mountings e.g. for fluid containers, axles, and batteries.  
  • Traction system – The prime mover and transmission system must be carefully inspected. If the truck is powered by an internal combustion engine (diesel or LPG), the exhaust system must also be checked. If it is an electric forklift, the battery and connections must be checked.  
  • Steering – The Competent Person will inspect all mechanical and hydraulic components for damage, wear, corrosion and other signs of potential failure. The truck should also be manoeuvred at low speed to check the steering response and operation. 
  • Wheels and tyres – Wheels and their assemblies must be securely mounted and in sound condition. The tyres must be of the correct specification for the truck and be checked for wear, damage, and bonding failure. Composite wheels and tyres must be suitable for the application and the truck. Wheel bearings must also be inspected. 
  • Brakes – All service and parking brake systems must be in full working order. Checks must include the hydraulics/pneumatics, mountings, cables, linkages, pedals, levers, and controls. 
  • Chassis – The chassis should be checked for signs of damage and cracking in the welds. 
  • Seat and restraints – The seat mounting and the panel it is attached to must be secure. Any anti-vibration mounting or operator seat restraint e.g. seat belt must also be secure and free from damage. 
  • Overhead guard or cab – The overhead guard or cab must be securely mounted and structurally sound. Any transparent screens must be clear and undamaged. 
  • Safety equipment – All safety systems should be inspected to ensure they are in full working order, including visible and audible alarms, capacity plates, and safety interlocks e.g. seat switches. 

Detailed procedures along with a full checklist for Thorough Examinations can be found in BITA Guidance Note GN 28