Who Can Inspect Lifting Equipment?

Who Can Inspect Lifting Equipment?

Lifting equipment must be inspected by a competent person.

Safe and successful lifting operations rely, in large part, on the continued protection of the lifting equipment and the accessories used. Failures of equipment can result in serious or even fatal injuries. Health and safety legislation also puts a range of clear responsibilities on those supplying, regulating and using lifting equipment to handle these identified risks. THis can be avoided through examination of the equipment and a lifting equipment inspection to ensure all lifting operations adhere to regulations.

All lifting equipment should have a thorough examination and be thoroughly tested by a competent person and maintained as appropriate in line with to ensure that the operations and lifting equipment it is safe for use in addition to ensuring the standards for safe design and construction.

  1. Users will need to perform basic pre-use checks (e.g. for lift chains and slings) or carry out regular checks (e.g. for lift trucks)
  2. In some cases, assessments and tests may be carried out on a daily basis, sometimes on a weekly basis, but they may be carried out on a monthly or quarterly basis (e.g. by an operator on a crane)
  3. Employers should ensure the lifting equipment is thoroughly inspected (usually once or twice a year, but in some situations, it may be more or less frequent)

These checks are important to ensure that the lifting equipment can continue to be used safely. This page focuses on a detailed analysis and inspection and on the monitoring and record-keeping responsibilities of LOLER (Regulations 9, 10 and 11).

What is a ‘thorough examination’ under LOLER?

This is a systematic and thorough examination of the equipment and safety-critical components, carried out at prescribed intervals by a qualified individual who is competent and understands lifting equipment regulations. They will be expected to complete a written report on their findings. This report must contain the details needed by LOLER Schedule 1, including:

  1. The date of inspection
  2. The date on which the next in-depth review is due
  3. Any defects found that are (or may potentially become) a danger to people.

Where serious defects are found, the competent person conducting the examination shall immediately inform the holder of their responsibility to follow loler regulations and the importance of lifting equipment inspections. A written report, a copy of which must also be forwarded to the competent compliance authority, should accompany this. Loler inspections are there to ensure loler regulations are being followed and that lifting equipment and lifting accessories are safe to use and that the lifting equipment used is being used safely and effectively.

Loler regulations can help you detect defects or weaknesses in your equipment, these will be picked up during your loler inspection too. A loler inspection is there to ensure the equipment used and you adhere to the best health and safety guidelines when you or your workforce are lifting things in the workplace.

What Is A ‘Competent Person’?

The term ‘competent person’ is not specified in the law, but the LOLER Code of Practice and Advice (paragraph 294 on competent persons) provides that:

‘To identify defects or deficiencies and to assess their importance in terms of safety and continued use of the lifting equipment, you should ensure that the person conducting a thorough examination has the necessary practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment.’

While a qualified individual will also be hired by another company, this is not necessary given that they are sufficiently autonomous and unbiased to ensure that in-house audits are carried out without fear or favour. However, this should not be the same individual performing routine maintenance of the equipment as they will then be responsible for determining their own maintenance work.

When should thorough examinations be carried out?

In order to ensure that lifting equipment and accessories remain safe for use, and to detect and correct any degradation in time, thorough inspections, including examinations, are required over the lifetime of the equipment:

Until usage for the first time-unless the equipment has an EC declaration of compliance less than one-year-old and the equipment has not been assembled on site. If constructed on-site, the qualified individual must be inspected to ensure that the assembly (e.g. platform lift mounted in the building) has been completed correctly and safely.

After assembly and before use at each location-for equipment requiring assembly or installation prior to use, e.g. tower cranes.

Regularly when in service-when, the equipment is exposed to deteriorating environments that are likely to result in hazardous circumstances. Most lifting equipment will be susceptible to wear and tear and will also require regular in-service examinations. Some may be subjected to severe environmental conditions that may contribute to further degradation. You’ve got the choice:

Arrange for an in-depth analysis to be carried out at the time intervals defined by LOLER (every six or twelve months, dependant upon the equipment-see below) or

Conduct the examinations in accordance with the examination scheme drawn up by the individual concerned

Following extraordinary circumstances-prone to endanger the safety of lifting equipment, which may include:

  • Harm and/or failure
  • being out of use for long periods of time
  • Significant adjustments that are likely to affect the integrity of the equipment ( e.g. modifications or replacement/repair of essential parts)

What Are The Specified Intervals For Thorough and Regular Examinations?

If there is no ‘examination scheme’ specifying additional intervals, a detailed examination of the following should be conducted:

  • Six months, for lifting equipment and all associated accessories, used to lift people
  • Six months, for all lift accessories
  • 12 months, for all other lifting systems

What Is Covered By A Thorough Lifting Equipment Examination?

lifting equipment examination

It really depends on the professional judgement of the qualified person conducting the test, but they must consider all issues concerning the safety of the lifting equipment, including the possible degradation over time.

For the most common lifting equipment and accessories, there are industry-standard guidelines and requirements that will be followed by a qualified person when conducting a thorough inspection and making a decision on the continued safety of the equipment. The methods used shall include:

  • Visual review and practical inspection
  • Measurement of wear
  • Standard NDT (non-destructive testing) and load testing (in some cases)
  • Any disassembly or internal inspection of the parts may also be essential.
  • Where an evaluation scheme has been drawn up, it should be defined and stated as follows:
  • The sections to be investigated in detail
  • Methods of research and testing
  • Intervals for analysis (and checking of the various pieces, if necessary)

The scheme should also provide details of any other inspection arrangements for the equipment. Any individual with the requisite competence can draw up examination schemes. It does not need to be the same qualified person who performs a detailed review in compliance with the scheme.

Although inspection schemes do not need to be maintained in the form of a text, it should be possible, if appropriate, to produce a written copy (e.g. upon request by the competent compliance authority). They should be safe from loss or unauthorised alteration.

Testing of lifting equipment

Most lifting equipment does not require regular testing as part of a comprehensive examination-indeed; some overload tests can cause damage to the lifting equipment. Where the research is considered appropriate, it may not be necessary to conduct an in-depth analysis. The need for testing and the nature of the testing should be focused on a risk assessment-taking into account information from the manufacturer and other relevant information-as decided by the qualified individual.

Maintenance and Lifting Equipment Inspection

lifting equipment maintenance

PUWER requires the maintenance of lifting equipment to ensure that it is secure for use. In some cases to help with this and to identify any degradation so that it can be remedied in good time-lifting equipment should need to be examined between in-depth inspections. Such checks must be carried out by properly trained and knowledgeable persons, who may also be the operator of the lifting equipment or maintenance staff.

The type, need, and frequency of such inspections should be determined by means of a risk assessment. The risk assessment should take into full account any of the manufacturer’s recommendations. More guidelines on the inspection of cranes are set out in the BS7121 British Standard Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Cranes document. The different parts of this norm can be obtained from BSI.

Lifting accessories do not usually need a formal inspection, given that adequate pre-use tests are carried out and that their regular, thorough review is carried out.

Reports and defects

Records of all in-depth reviews and inspections and EC Declarations of Compliance for all lifting equipment and lifting accessories should be held. Test and inspection documents do not need to be kept in hard copy form, but you should be able to produce a written copy if necessary (e.g. upon request by the competent compliance authority or when the lifting equipment leaves your undertaking-under hire, use elsewhere, or second-hand sale). Records should also be protected from unauthorised modification. Details of the timeframes for which they are to be maintained are given in Table 3 of the Detailed Lift Equipment Inspection (PDF)-Portable Document Format.

The contents needed for an in-depth analysis report are set out in Schedule 1 of the LOLER. A specified format or type for such a report is no longer available, given that all eleven items listed in the Schedule are included.

If, after a thorough examination or inspection of the lifting equipment, a defect is identified-which, in the opinion of the individual conducting the examination or inspection-is (or may become) a danger to people, you as a user (employer or self-employed person) should be informed immediately. You must then take appropriate steps to manage the risk by ensuring that the lifting equipment is not used until the fault has been fixed. Any defects must be confirmed in writing in the study, even though they are corrected instantly (e.g. by the destruction of the sling). A copy of the report shall also be reported to the competent compliance authority by the person making the report. Enforcement authorities can follow up on such reports to ensure that risks are properly managed.




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