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LOLER regulations and compliance
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998
What equipment is covered by the Regulations?
Lifting equipment includes any equipment used at work for lifting or lowering loads, including attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. The Regulations cover a wide range of equipment including, cranes, forklift trucks, lifts, hoists, mobile elevating work platforms, and vehicle inspection platform hoists. The definition also includes lifting accessories such as chains, slings, eyebolts etc.
Pre-use checks – which are not as exhaustive as a thorough examination (covered later), they basically involve checking that there are no obvious faults or defects, should be carried out prior to each use of lifting equipment. This could vary in frequency to once a week to a couple of times a day depending on how often the equipment is operated.
A Thorough Examination is a statutory requirement for lifting equipment under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98), Regulation 9. It has the same purpose as an MOT inspection by providing a report which identifies that the lifting equipment is safe to use, and/or advice that needs to be followed to avoid risks in use. It is just as important as an MOT – probably more so! There is a legal requirement for a Thorough Examination to be carried out on lifting equomnet at least once a year, and often more frequently depending on conditions of use.
Why is maintenance of equipment important?
Additional hazards can occur when equipment becomes unreliable and develops faults. Maintenance allows these faults to be diagnosed early and corrected to manage any risks. However, maintenance needs to be correctly planned and carried out. Unsafe maintenance has caused many fatalities and serious injuries either during the maintenance or to those using the badly or wrongly maintained/ repaired equipment.
An effective maintenance programme will make equipment more reliable. Fewer breakdowns will mean less dangerous contact with equipment is required, as well as having the cost benefits of better productivity and efficiency. LOLER requires lifting equipment to be maintained so that it remains safe and that maintenance is carried out safely.
What do I have to do?
If you are an employer and you provide lifting equipment you need to demonstrate that you have arrangements in place to make sure that a defect can be reported and that they are maintained in a safe condition.
Think about what hazards can occur:
if equipment or an attachment breaks during use;
equipment starts up unexpectedly;
there is contact with materials that are normally enclosed within the machine, ie caused by leaks/breakage/ejection etc;
if a load or part of a load falls.
Failing to correctly plan and communicate clear instructions and information before starting maintenance can lead to confusion and can cause accidents. This can be a particular problem if maintenance is carried out during normal production work or where there are contractors who are unfamiliar with the site.
Extra care is also required if maintenance involves:
working at height or when doing work that requires access to unusual parts of the building;
entering vessels or confined spaces where there may be toxic materials or a lack of breathable of air.
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