What Is a Forklift Thorough Examination?

Demonstration of a motor on a forklift.

Undertaking a forklift thorough examination at least once a year is a legal requirement.

A forklift thorough examination is a mandatory check that both lifting equipment and driving mechanisms are functioning to standard, identifying and addressing any defects or issues with your forklift that could pose a risk. The thorough examination covers both LOLER and PUWER.

In this article, we take a look at thorough examinations in more detail, including who the responsibility of obtaining one lies with, and the potential consequences of not completing one.

    Legal Requirements for Forklift Inspections

    The thorough examination covers several regulations, including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.  

    • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 offers guidelines for a safe working environment, assessing and managing the risks that may arise in a workplace.
    • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) applies to the safe use of lifting equipment in the workplace, ensuring lifting operations are properly planned, supervised and carried out.
    • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) covers the safe use and maintenance of equipment at work, including machinery, tools and appliances.

    Under these regulations, a forklift in operation must have passed a thorough examination; this also applies to any forklift leaving the owner's possession, whether temporarily or permanently.

    It is the responsibility of the employer of the forklift operator or the hire company to ensure that the forklift has passed a thorough examination.

    What is Involved in a Forklift Thorough Examination?

    What’s involved in a thorough examination depends on: the type of forklift and the assessment of the competent person performing the examination.

    However, the thorough examination will generally cover lifting equipment and other safety-related vehicular mechanics, such as the brakes, steering and tyres.

    This examination typically includes a visual inspection, functional checks, and testing of safety features in order to identify any issues and take necessary actions to address them.

    Who Can Carry Out a Forklift Thorough Examination?

    To make certain that your thorough examination has been conducted correctly and your forklift is safe for operation, the inspection must be carried out by a competent person with extensive experience.

    Specifically, a skilled service engineer or examiner with at least 5 years of experience in the forklift industry is required for this process.

    Frequency of Forklift Thorough Examinations

    Regular inspections are vital to ensure the safety and compliance of lifting equipment; this includes both daily general inspections carried out by those operating or owning the forklifts, and thorough examinations.

    Forklifts must undergo thorough examinations at least every 12 months; it’s important to note, however, the frequency of these inspections may vary based on the intensity of the forklift's usage.

    For instance, a 12-month inspection is suitable for a truck working up to 40 hours per week, while trucks working between 40 and 80 hours per week require inspections every 6 months. Trucks working in excess of 80 hours or in hard environments need inspections every 4 months.

    If you’re unsure how often your forklift requires a thorough examination, we recommend seeking professional advice.

    Importance of Thorough Examination

    Scheduling your thorough examination is crucial for maintaining the safety and reliability of your lifting equipment.

    Not only does a thorough examination keep your employees safe, but it also ensures that your forklifts are running smoothly and helps avoid unnecessary costs – both for forklift repairs and the replacement of any goods damaged by faulty lifting equipment.

    As a legal requirement, by not undertaking a thorough examination or not undertaking a full inspection you could face penalisation.


    As an employer or hire company in charge of forklifts, undertaking a thorough examination ensures your forklifts are legally validated for operation.

    Put safety at the centre of your operations by ensuring your examinations are undertaken regularly by a competent person and in full as per industry regulations.

    Atlas Forklift offers complete support services for forklift trucks, including conducting mandatory LOLER examinations. We are here to help businesses meet the legal obligations of LOLER compliance. If you want to find out more about how we can assist you with LOLER examinations, get in touch.