Meeting Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) regulations will ensure facilities managers help to maintain business compliance, says Andy Satchwell.
03 February 2020 | Andy Satchwell
A major car manufacturer was fined £200,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last year for failing to ensure its equipment was compliant with the Lifting Operations ad Equipment Regulations (LOLER). Stricter legal guidelines have resulted in higher penalties and a keener focus on compliance.
The regulations place duties on employees and firms that own, operate or have control over lifting equipment. It is policed through a variety of equipment inspections - the nature, frequency and requirements vary on the type and application of such kit.
Five steps for FMs to meet LOLER
1. Understand and plan for thorough examinations
An 'in-service thorough examination' aims to confirm that lifting equipment is safe for continual use and that there are no signs of deterioration that could lead to failure.
Lifting equipment needs to be inspected every six months for lifting accessories or equipment used to lift people, and every 12 months for all other lifting equipment.
These frequencies are subject to change. Passenger lifts in a transport hub may need to be inspected more often than those in a two-floor office block.
Remember to keep records of all thorough examinations and of any identified defects. Problems need to be immediately reported to people using the equipment, the company it has been hired from (if in the case of a powered access scissor lift, for example) and, possibly, the relevant enforcement authority.
2. Know when other inspections are needed
Thorough examination is also needed at several points during the life of lifting equipment: on initial use or following installation; periodically during its life to ensure it remains fit for use; and following certain circumstances, such as if the asset becomes damaged.
Where a piece of lifting equipment's safety depends on the installation conditions, it must be examined before it is put into service for the first time to make sure it is installed correctly and is safe to operate. If lifting equipment, such as a tower crane, is moved, it should be examined at its new location after installation but before it is put into service.
3. Bring in the right expert
While frequency of inspections is crucial, FMs also need to ensure the 'competent person' inspecting equipment has the right expertise to carry it out. This person needs to have the practical and theoretical knowledge and experience to competently detect defects.
When looking at different suppliers, the most significant accreditations an engineering inspection company should have are ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001. Accreditations by the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), the British Safety Council and the UK Accreditation Service UKAS are also important.
The inspection company should also be able to prove its competence with relevant technical CVs and operating licences for technical staff.
4. Make a mark
Having a clear marking that identifies the lifting equipment's safe working load (SWL), something which is required by LOLER, is an easy way to avoid damaging assets in the first place. This might be referenced in kilograms or tonnes. For people-carrying equipment, marking will also need to outline the maximum number of people that can be moved at any one time.
For some lifting equipment, it will be necessary to outline different SWLs depending on its configuration. A hoist for example, might have different SWLs depending on its position, so it's vital that this data is visible to operators.
5. Book it out
Schedule the equipment as 'out of action' on the day of inspection. If an inspector cannot access the equipment because it's in use it increases the risk of attracting fines and injury, especially if the rescheduled date follows when an inspection is due - in which case, putting the equipment out of service is the only way to stay compliant.
Andy Satchwell is business development manager at testing, inspection and certification provider at Lloyds British, a Speedy business