Health and safety regulations are an important aspect of many different safety inspections as they help determine if companies are following the legislative best practice that has been proven to save lives. The element of risk cannot be fully removed in many roles, and therefore thorough and routine equipment checks are crucial.
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) provide a framework for you to determine the safety of the lifting apparatus in your workplace. The regulations are particularly important in the relevant industries like factory and construction site work, but they must also be considered in more office-based environments.
In this article, we break down the checklist of areas you need to consider when conducting your businesses LOLER compliance checks.
Examine the use of the equipment
How the equipment is used can tell you a lot about the potential hazards that may be present. According to the LOLER regulations, equipment should be used correctly with a view to safety. LOLER also states that equipment should be ‘suitable’ for the work.
Determine the suitability of the equipment
Any lifting equipment must be suitable in terms of size and capacity and should be properly positioned in the workplace. For the equipment to be suitable, it should both ‘strong and stable’ in relation to the obligations under PUWER (Health and safety executive, 1998).
Look at the instalment of the equipment
If the use and suitability of the equipment are confirmed, LOLER also requires an evaluation of the instalment of the apparatus. This examination will look at various factors including location, installation timing and the amount of the risk the equipment creates during operations.
Look at the organisation of the lifting operations
Lifting operations are defined as an operation occurred with the lifting or lowering of a load under LOLER. The operation of the lifting should be evaluated. Try to assess the associated risk level at each stage of the lift, including loading and unloading. If the operation of the equipment is deemed safe, LOLER also requires the equipment to be clearly marked.
Marking lifting equipment
Part of the way workers can determine the suitability of equipment is through the markings displayed. This should include information on the type of objects that can be lifted, (like the details on the hook needed for example) and any adjustments that may need be made. LOLER also stipulates that precise ‘safe working loads’ need to be displayed in the operational lifting equipment.
Look at the equipment for lifting people
If the equipment is used for lifting people, in addition to LOLER the equipment in question will also have to be compliant with the machinery directive. The regulations require that the lifting equipment is safe when it is put on the market and when it used for the first time. Beyond this, regular safety checks should be carried out to determine if the equipment is still fit for purpose according to LOLER.
Evaluate the attaching and detaching load methods
The method by which loads are attached and detached from the equipment are opportunities for potentially poor safety practices to creep in. Evaluate the process with an assessment of the risks and work out how they can be minimised, either through a change in the loading methods or training on how to conduct them better.
Look at the danger of suspended loads
There are a lot of risks associated with suspended loads, particularly if work is being carried out underneath them. To fulfil the obligations of LOLER, when conducting assessments, you should assess the risk to any person working in close proximity and determine how the risks can be mitigated
What are the storage conditions for the equipment?
Finally, you should test the storage conditions any lifting equipment is being kept in. This can cause damage and wear over time at an accelerated rate. Keeping storage conditions for lifting apparatus dry and free from moisture will help protect the equipment from electrical faults and improve your implementation of the LOLER measures.
Ensure you are LOLER compliant to increase the safety of your workplace
Getting equipment examined at certain times is a key part of compliance. Unless the equipment has the EC declaration of conformity at less than one year, it should be examined by a competent person to determine the safety. Additionally, equipment should also be tested after exceptional circumstances.
Health and Safety Executive (1998) Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/loler.htm Accessed: 05 May 2020.