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Loler and Puwer turn 20

This month marks the 20th anniversary of LOLER and PUWER. CFTS Chairman Geoff Martin, pictured, reflects on their introduction, what each entails and their ongoing impact on the fork lift truck employers.

December 1998 is probably most-widely remembered for its Christmas gales. However, for those in the fork lift industry, it was a time of great change. That month saw both the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations come into force.

Created to implement the EU’s changes to the Use of Work Equipment Directive (AUWED), the legislation aims to make working life safer for everyone using and coming into contact with equipment.

This lack of clarity, however, has led to widespread confusion among lift truck employers over what’s necessary for compliance… and how to achieve it easily.

Why the confusion?

While LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) addresses the forklift’s lifting mechanism, including the mast, forks and chains, PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) covers the truck’s safety-critical components, including brakes and steering.

Because forklift trucks must meet both sets of requirements, there is room for interpretation.

Without an agreed standard for the crucial checks required, such as we see in the automotive MOT, employers may assume their truck complies with both.

The cost of getting it wrong

The introduction of Fee for Intervention (FFI), Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act and updates to the Approved Code of Practice (L117), means assumptions can be dangerous…

For employers, complying with the demands LOLER and PUWER has never been so tough… or so costly. Non-compliance comes at a much heavier cost – to individuals as well as companies – so it’s essential that those most at risk understand their obligations, as well as potential penalties.

The lack of clarity over Thorough Examinations – which must be carried out at least once every 12 months – makes choosing providers a real challenge. This is made more difficult when you consider the significant responsibility on employers to ensure operations are both safe and legal.

A thorough Thorough Examination standard

Having identified the issue early on, the UK’s two leading authorities on lift truck operations, BITA (British Industrial Truck Association) and FLTA (Fork Lift Truck Association) joined forces.

In 2004, they launched CFTS with a view to establishing a scheme ensuring simple ‘one-stop’ compliance for any company operating lift trucks.

After all, lift truck operations are hazardous enough without worrying about your Thorough Examination criteria, too. The CFTS quality-controlled standard gives employers the confident and comprehensive compliance they need.

Today, more than 400 accredited companies – including major industry players – adhere to our strict guidelines… and for good reason. Our Thorough Examination process provides them with a robust examination framework. Importantly, it ensures the depth of inspection necessary to ensure employers are working safely and legally – wherever they are in the UK.

The CFTS difference

A good example of CFTS’ approach can be found in our chain inspection guidelines. Chains perform such a key role in your truck’s lifting mechanism and it is our view that they should be treated as such.

For some examiners, however, this ‘testing’ is done visually. While visual inspections are important and have a place, it’s impossible to accurately check for chain wear using the naked eye.

This is why competent persons employed by our accredited companies measure wear using a gauge designed specifically for this purpose.

And, just like a CFTS Thorough Examination itself, its precise (and replicable) measurements ensure operations are safe and compliant.

The CFTS website – – offers further guidance on Thorough Examination. As well as videos and interactive guides, employers can use the member finder to locate their nearest accredited company.


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