Plant and equipment used at work falls into several legislations but the one we’re talking about today is Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
LOLER covers any plant and equipment that is used in any form of lifting whether this be slings, tackles, lifts, cranes, forklifts or attachments used, although it does not apply to escalators.
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
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.
When should ‘thorough examination’ be carried out?
In order to verify that lifting equipment and accessories remain safe for use, and to detect and remedy any deterioration in good time, thorough examinations are required throughout the lifetime of the equipment, including examinations:
- before use for the first time– unless the equipment has an EC Declaration of Conformity less than one year old and the equipment was not assembled on site. If it was assembled on site, it must be examined by a competent person to ensure that the assembly (eg a platform lift installed in a building) was completed correctly and safely
- after assembly and before use at each location– for equipment that requires assembly or installation before use, eg tower cranes
- regularly, while in service– if the equipment is exposed to conditions that cause deterioration which is likely to result in dangerous situations. Most lifting equipment will be subject to wear and tear and so will need regular in-service examination. Some may be exposed to significant environmental conditions which may cause further deterioration. You have a choice:
- arrange for thorough examination to be carried out at the intervals specified by LOLER (every 6 or 12 months, depending on the equipment – see below), or
- conduct examinations in accordance with an examination scheme, drawn up by a competent person
- following exceptional circumstances– liable to jeopardise the safety of lifting equipment, which may include:
- damage or failure
- being out of use for long periods
- major changes, which are likely to affect the equipment’s integrity (eg modifications, or replacement / repair of critical parts)
What are the specified intervals for regular thorough examinationst?
|Type of equipment||6 months||12 months||Examination scheme|
|Accessory for lifting||✓||✓|
|Equipment used to lift people||✓||✓|
|All other lifting equipment||✓||✓|