Is it OK to buy second hand lifting equipment?

When you're in the market for lifting equipment, you can sometimes be tempted to look at the second hand market to find what you need, simply to keep costs down.

Equipment used for lifting is often expensive, and for good reason. There are huge safety issues around the lifting of heavy plant, people and other objects, and this needs to be taken into account. Every company providing this type of equipment needs to ensure that it's safe to use, that all relevant safety material such as instructions, are provided, and that there is support for the buyer.

Buying second hand, then, can mean you get a lot of cheaper options - but is safety at risk?

The HSE has a very clear statement on this:

Anyone supplying second-hand equipment for use at work must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that it is safe and without risks to health. This applies at all times when the equipment is being set, used, cleaned or maintained by a person at work. Adequate information should also be provided concerning the intended use of the equipment.

Where the second-hand equipment is in scope of one of the European product supply Directives and has not previously been put into service in the European Economic Area (EEA), or placed on the market of the EEA, the person importing it into the EEA must meet the conformity assessment requirements of the relevant European Directives, including CE marking.

The term "sold as seen" or similar cannot be used to avoid these legal responsibilities.

The last sentence of that statement is quite clear - you cannot avoid your legal responsibilities by simply saying "sold as seen", as many do when selling many other items. When it comes to the safety of the product being sold, the vendor must ensure regulations are met.

They must provide you with the manuals to use the equipment, as well as any additional notes on safe usage. Additionally, if the equipment is subject to periodic inspection or examination for safe usage, then copies of the last record of inspection should be provided.

Very old equipment

Some equipment obviously came on to the market before certain statutory inspections were necessary, but this doesn't exclude it from safety checks. If the equipment was made decades ago, and it doesn't pass safety tests today, then it shouldn't be used.

Obviously, some equipment can be modified, upgraded or adjusted to ensure it complies with health and safety requirements. If so, the equipment should be supplied with it by the vendor.

How can I be sure?

If you've bought second hand equipment, then you should always seek to have it thoroughly tested.

Worlifts can provide you with the peace of mind that comes from having a fully certified and trained engineer testing your safety equipment, ensuring it can be used for the job required of it and certifying it for use in your organisation.

So, if in doubt, call us today on 0121 460 1113.