While the warning includes “cowboy” modifications, such as adding additional weight to the counterbalance to increase lifting capacity, users might be surprised to learn that even changing tyres could constitute a breach of their contractual agreements and, therefore, leave them liable.
“It’s important that end-users understand what they can and cannot do under rental contract,” said FLTA chief executive Peter Harvey. “Failure to do so could land them in hot water.”
Harvey added: “Whether a truck is under a short-term rental agreement or hire purchase, if you have not bought the truck outright, changes to the equipment should be approved, in writing, by the supplier.
“But if you’ve purchased a truck, you should also be aware of what you can and cannot do. Making unauthorised changes can invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty, which could see [you] having to foot the bill and, indeed, every subsequent bill.”
However, as Harvey explained, it is about more than money.
“Unauthorised repairs or modifications can have dangerous knock-on effects for safety,” he added.
“Cheap tyres can effect stability and cause an accident, and the FLTA has even heard of individuals trying to repair damaged overhead guards and thereby endangering all future users of the truck.”
Meanwhile, an engineering company that manufacturers industrial ovens has been ordered to pay more than £30,000 for safety failings involving a forklift truck.
An employee of Knowsley Engineering Services Ltd was badly injured when he was struck by a metal structure during a lifting process and sustained serious flesh wounds and a fractured arm.