News story

QA Liftrucks complains about CFTS advertising

Wednesday, 6 March 2013 ( #606 ) - Birmingham, United Kingdom
The UK's Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) has had to review its advertising after a local forklift company complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). In the August 2012 issue of ShD magazine, CFTS states in an advertisment: "Only a CFTS Thorough Examination ensures you comply with the inspection needs of both PUWER 98 and LOLER 98, which are both required by law". Andy Mullins, director of QA Liftrucks in Birmingham, UK, who has been a member of the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) for 12 years until last year, tells News that he was unhappy with the advertisement. After contacting the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and CFTS to highlight that the advertisement was causing confusion among truck owners and users, Mullins reported the ad to the ASA. "I request[ed] that they intervene and make the owners of CFTS behave in a responsible manner and stop spreading fear and confusion and trying to attract new members through ignorance." Mullins adds that he declined to join CFTS due to the "unnecessary extra cost" and because his company already ran a successful Thorough Examination inspection system. CFTS has responded to the ASA investigation of the complaint, and agreed that future advertising will not state or imply that only a CFTS Thorough Examination meets the legal requirements. However, it was unable to withdraw its advertising from a number of February publications. Martin Banasik, principal engineer (lift and crane) of Allianz Insurance, which runs a Thorough Examination inspection system, agrees that the statement in the ad is misleading. "The only absolute legal requirement is for anyone carrying out Thorough Examinations to be competent for the purpose. "Thereafter, LOLER guidance advises that the function of Thorough Examination should be undertaken in an independent and impartial manner, so that the outcome of any given examination is given without fear or favour." The FLTA says in a statement prepared for News: "CFTS has co-operated fully with the ASA. It accepts that although CFTS is the only nationally agreed industry standard, the advert in question went too far in claiming it is the 'only' way a forklift truck manager can be sure their whole truck has been examined properly." Wayne Adams, managing director of Midland Materials Handling Co Ltd, who has been a member of the FLTA for over 25 years, says the association does a wonderful job in keeping him up to date with legislation and other items concerning the industry. However, he says he has reservations about CFTS and the FLTA's promotion of the CFTS. "All of my engineers are fully qualified and attend the FLTA Thorough Examination courses and are, therefore, not only competent by having certification from that course, but also having experience in the industry from leaving school to date, which in some cases is well over 25 years. "I don't agree with the association putting forward members of the CFTS above its own members especially when we still support and attend the FLTA courses. "CFTS and its kite mark idea may be something to consider in the future, but it doesn't mean that companies requiring Thorough Examinations can't use companies like ours who run professional competent outfits and keep records in line with guidelines set out in LOLER and PUWER." CFTS-accredited companies can put a "kite" certification label on the pieces of equipment they have inspected. FLTA CEO Peter Harvey says the association will continue to explain the benefits of CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination to its own members and UK forklift managers because it "remain convinced it is the easiest and best way". Before the benchmark was introduced through a joint venture by BITA and FLTA, forklift inspectors could determine for themselves what to check, leading to inconsistency and compromised safety. "It is true that many excellent Thorough Examinations are carried out by experienced engineers, outside the CFTS scheme," Harvey explains. "But if a company already performs Thorough Examinations that are up to the CFTS mark, getting accredited costs them nothing." He says the only charges go towards printing the official documentation that prevents confusion and assures customers that their equipment inspection meets CFTS standards. "We can therefore think of no good reason not to work within the scheme, and the vast majority of FLTA Members are also CFTS-accredited. There is no conflict between the two," he adds. The CFTS will launch a national campaign at the coming IMHX expo in Birmingham to warn forklift managers of the dangers of incomplete Thorough Examinations ( News #605).