Safety is always the highest priority when executing a heavy lift. Without correct risk assessment surrounding people maybe at high risk to a heavy load accidentally dropping on their head!
Generally speaking lifting equipment should be inspected every 6-12 months (different products require different inspection intervals) by a qualified lifting inspection officer/company. Gear should also be inspected for wear and tear or damage deeper than the surface, this should be done by the user before each lift.
Most companies that use lifting equipment these days have a system for storing test certificates or certificates of conformity. These are required for each item of lifting equipment by law. It shows that the item has been tested or inspected to the relevant standards with any noted defects listed. In the event of an accident this will become a valuable document, without one you run big risks. Each item of lifting gear will feature a serial number that will tie in with the certificate, copies are also usually held by manufacturers and can be traced using the serial number.
Lifting Equipment inspection has become a growing topic in todays market as health and safety laws are tightened and risk is reduced companies are treating inspection and maintenance very seriously in order to secure the safety of their employees.