Whatever type or types of lifting equipment you use, it is vital that it is correctly checked and serviced so that it is safe to use and is in good condition at all times. For many types of lifting equipment there needs to be proper inspections by HSE licensed testers and you should be aware of whether the equipment or machinery you are using comes under these regulations. Testing can be done on-site and can be undertaken at your convenience so that you do not lose work due to down time.
Safe and successful lifting operations depend, in large part, on the continued safety of the lifting equipment and accessories that are used. Failures in this kind of equipment can result in significant or even fatal injuries. Health and safety law therefore places a number of specific obligations on those providing, controlling and using lifting equipment to properly manage these risks.
In addition to the requirements for safe design and construction, all lifting equipment should also be checked and maintained as necessary to keep it safe for use, so:
- users may need to undertake simple pre-use checks (eg on lifting chains and slings), or make checks on a daily basis (eg for lift trucks)
- in some cases, inspections and checks should be made on a regular basis, often weekly, but this may be on a monthly or quarterly basis (eg the checks undertaken by an operator on their crane)
- employers should ensure that lifting equipment is thoroughly examined (normally once or twice a year but, in some cases, this may be more or less frequent)
These checks are necessary to verify that the lifting equipment can continue to be safely used. This page concentrates on thorough examination and inspection, and the reporting and record-keeping obligations of LOLER (regulations 9, 10 and 11).
What is a 'thorough examination' under LOLER?
This is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals by a competent person who must then complete a written report. This report must contain the information required by LOLER Schedule 1 , including:
- the examination date
- the date when the next thorough examination is due
- any defects found which are (or could potentially become) a danger to people
Where serious defects are identified, the competent person carrying out the examination must immediately report this verbally to the dutyholder. This should then be followed by the written report, a copy of which must also be sent to the relevant enforcing authority.
What is a 'competent person'?
The term 'competent person' is not defined in law but the LOLER Approved Code of Practice and guidance (paragraph 294 on competent persons) states that:
'You should ensure that the person carrying out a thorough examination has such appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined as will enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment.' Click here to continue