Peter Harvey MBE is chief executive of the Fork Lift Truck Association.
When looking for finance for new lift trucks, there are several dos and don'ts which may save you time, money and hassle further down the line, according to Peter Harvey
Start by finding a reputable supplier. Ideally, the company will belong to a recognised trade body with a nationally agreed Code of Practice. This means you'll have an arbitrator in case of a dispute.
You should also ensure you are using the most appropriate form of finance and - more importantly in the case of a long-term rental - know what penalties you might face at end of term.
The FLTA has produced The Good Hire Guide
that explains the main differences between types and lengths of hire contract and much more. It highlights what you should look out for, including:
* Service levels
* Breakdown response
* Truck replacement services
* Repairs covered/not covered by the hire charge.
Read and understand the hire agreement.
Typically, trucks are hired for five years or more and predictable deterioration will naturally occur. Understanding "fair wear and tear" is crucial to avoiding large, unexpected end-of-contract repair bills and potentially acrimonious disputes.
It's also important to note that if you are renting a piece of equipment, you must
consult your supplier when any repairs, modifications or changes are to be made to the truck (including the fitting of new tyres). Unauthorised changes could well contravene the terms of the contract, invalidate the warranty and compromise the safety of the equipment.
* Ensure you have a written hire agreement.
* Read and understand the hire agreement.
* Check trucks on delivery, recording damage or deficiencies.
* Confirm that you and your hiring company hold identical copies of the handover certificate (and current Report of Thorough Examination).
* Ensure all operators know how to operate and care for the trucks.
* Establish and maintain a recorded pre-shift check system.
* Deal with faults and damage as and when they occur.
* Ensure truck servicing meets manufacturer requirements by giving the hiring company access to complete work when necessary.
* Make operators and supervisors aware of damage costs.
* Hire on verbal agreements.
* Allow untrained personnel to operate trucks.
* Authorise truck use on unsuitable ground or in unsuitable areas.
* Permit overloading.
* Ignore inappropriate use.
* Neglect unwanted drips (symptoms of something more serious developing).
* Fit anything to the truck without consulting the supplier.
* Overlook minor scratches (the tell-tale signs of careless operators).
For your copy of The Good Hire Guide
, please visit www.fork-truck.org.uk
and sign up for Safer Site Pro, the FLTA's online, step-by-step safety program, which is available free of charge to members of the Association's Safe User Group.
Safe User Group
The FLTA realises that keeping up with the latest developments in best practice can be arduous. Legislative literature can be lengthy and complex - and you have a company to run!
With this in mind, we created the Safe User Group. It is designed to keep members informed of all industry-relevant developments. We cut through the jargon, and deliver the information and resources needed to keep your workforce safe and productive.
For more information on what the Safe User Group can do for you, visit www.fork-truck.org.uk/safe-user-group