The HSE conducted an investigation at a company and found that it had not had some of its lifting equipment thoroughly examined within the necessary timescale specified in the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). This requirement is there to ensure that equipment is safe to use, and that any deterioration can be identified to prevent possible failures during use. The company had 14 items that were overdue a thorough examination, and even though the HSE served an Improvement Notice – and extended the notice twice to give the company more time – the company still failed to carry out this important duty.
5 Top Tips to Ensure Your Lifting Equipment is Safe
- Carry out a risk assessment to identify the hazards involved in your lifting operations, and ensure that the lifting equipment you choose is right for the job. Teach workers how to do pre-use checks to ensure the equipment is in a good condition before they start.
- Always ensure that a thorough examination by a competent person is undertaken at the right intervals. Unless otherwise stated, this is every six months for all lifting accessories and for lifting equipment and associated accessories used to lift people, and every 12 months for all other lifting equipment.
- Ensure that your lifting equipment, and accessories such as slings and chains, are clearly marked with the safe working load (SWL) and that this is never exceeded. Never let anyone be lifted by equipment which is not suitable for carrying persons.
- Keep a written record of your scheme of maintenance and user checks. Records must be kept for all thorough examinations and any defects found must be reported to both the person responsible for the equipment and the relevant enforcing authority, such as the HSE or local authority.
- Properly investigate all incidents and near misses involving lifting equipment to identify any maintenance issues or defects. Never use an item which has a defect until this has been remedied and the item has been put back into service.
Fatalities and serious injuries can occur when lifting equipment fails, often resulting in workers being crushed or pinned by falling heavy items. Make sure you take steps today to ensure that your lifting equipment is safe to use.
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