Lifting Equipment regulations are very tight in all areas, this however is for a very good reason; your safety. The “Lifting Operations And Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)” Law was brought out in yes, you’ve guessed it: 1998!
“LOLER” as it is commonly referred to places restrictions and requirements upon anyone who operates, owns or controls lifting equipment. This also incorporates the law of PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) this requires all equipment to be correctly maintained and inspected as required and all processes involving lifting equipment to be planned and carried out by competent persons who are under the supervision.
It is important that all equipment is inspected not only by an inspection body as and when required but also each and every time before use, every piece of lifting equipment should be subject to visual inspection before usage. There are many companies that carry out various types of inspection and testing of your lifting equipment.
The basic level of inspection is simply a visual check to see that there is no physical signs of stress and that the item seems to be safe to use and nothing unusual has taken place with the gear. A more advanced inspection (sometimes required by companies in certain industries) is a full visual and testing check, this is where the item is subject to a controlled test usually performed on a test rig if small enough, if the item is a crane or a large piece of equipment it will require test weights to carry this out.
All Lifting Equipment should be inspected at least annually with no exceptions, at the end of the day if something bad should happen (I hope that it never does) to a member of your team featuring an item of Lifting Gear that was not correctly inspected or maintained this will rest on the person and company responsible in the eyes of the magistrates. Preventative maintenance saves lives, think before you lift and stay safe!