Last year saw many changes to GN28, the UK’s Guidance on Thorough Examinations of forklift trucks. If you use or service ATEX forklifts in the UK, here’s what you need to know in 2022 and why.
In the UK the Thorough Examination of forklift trucks is covered under Guidance Note GN28. It covers two different sets of Health and Safety regulations, commonly known as LOLER and PUWER.
Forklift users and service providers across the UK are mostly aware that an Accredited Examiner should conduct the Thorough Examination according to the regulations. This is the same even when the forklift truck is explosion protected and ATEX compliant.
What’s new for ATEX forklifts in GN28 Thorough Examinations?
GN28 used to give guidance on how to carry out a Thorough Examination AND included details for the periodic inspection on the ATEX safety equipment featured on a forklift used in potentially explosive atmospheres.
Today however, it guides an engineer carrying out a Thorough Examination only, but does NOT include details for the periodic inspection of the ATEX safety systems (what we call the Ex-ASA) as well. It does still confirm the important Thorough Examination is required on trucks that have been converted for operation in potentially explosive atmospheres.
Even though GN28 no longer features any detailed requirements for ATEX protective systems, it clarifies the importance of a periodic inspection (of the ATEX systems) as a separate activity by a competent person.
The removal of the detail of the periodic inspection of the ATEX system is due to the diverse solutions and special training requirements needed to complete an inspection on an ATEX compliant forklift.
The removal of the detail helps to re-enforce that a few extra check points in the standard “Thorough Examination” simply does not check the explosion protection system sufficiently.
In summary, ATEX forklift users must ensure the standard Thorough Examination is completed IN ADDITION TO a periodic inspection of the ATEX safety systems. This would mean compliance with LOLER, PUWER and ATEX.
What is meant by a competent person?
A competent person in the case of explosion proof equipment can be described as an engineer who has been trained and tested on ATEX principles and concepts such as Ex d, Ex i, Ex n and other important safety standards used in the design of any explosion proof equipment. An understanding of forklift truck servicing and inspection in isolation is simply not enough, which GN28 reinforces.
CompEx accreditation or accreditation by an ATEX notified body follow nationally recognised competency frameworks; the level to look for in an engineer or examiner undertaking ATEX periodic inspections.
Pyroban’s Annual Safety Audit of ATEX forklifts and GN28
In parallel to the “Thorough Examination” provided by a forklift supplier or a preferred accredited examiner, Pyroban provides an Annual Safety Audit of the ATEX safety systems to satisfy the ATEX legal requirements and GN28.
Pyroban’s Ex-ASAs (periodic inspections) are conducted by CompEx accredited Pyroban engineers to check that the integrity and ATEX safety of the material handling equipment is not compromised.
If no irregularities have been found during the inspection, the ATEX lift truck will be declared safe for use and a certificate will be issued to support the site’s Explosion Protection Document (EPD). Any issues found are reported and Pyroban’s service team may be used to undertake required repairs.
The Pyroban Ex-ASA therefore supports compliance with ATEX 1999/92/EC, which requires the end user to “demonstrate that work equipment is designed and maintained with due regard for safety”. This is a separate requirement to what is expected in the standard “Thorough Examination”.
Among the most common reasons for an ATEX forklift to fail an annual audit are issues with fork cladding, earth straps, worn tyres, poorly maintained batteries and even seat cushion wear. Badly maintained or worn inlet shut-down valves are also common reasons for an Ex-ASA failure on diesel forklifts, none of which would be included on a standard “Thorough Examination” or inspection.
When a lift truck leaves the Pyroban facility, customers can be confident that its safety systems are working as they should to help prevent ignition in a potentially explosive atmosphere. For the safety of all staff and neighbouring businesses, it’s important to check that it stays that way.