Lifting operations are associated with risks of injury and when they are handled in an inappropriate manner, they can invite additional costs to the company or people who are accountable for operational success and safety. To promote safe and efficient management of lifting operations, the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) were enacted in 1998. These regulations apply to companies or people who own, operate, and supervise the upkeep of lifting equipment. Generally, employers are also required to abide by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), which lays down the things that employers need to do to protect their employees in the workplace and as a matter of fact, proper upkeep of lifting equipment is one of those requirements.
The regulations require a competent individual to plan, handle, and supervise lifting equipment and lifting operations in an appropriate and safe manner. The LOLER also specifies that the lifting equipment should be fit for the purpose and it should be appropriately marked with maintenance and defect-related data being recorded in an accurate manner. The regulations apply to the operation of any equipment that is used in the worksite. However there are certain categories of equipment which are used in lifting, but are not considered as lifting equipment and hence, they are not subject to the provisions of LOLER. The use and upkeep of such instruments, including platform lifts, escalators, and stair lifts, is governed by PUWER.
Notably, the Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 specifies that employers as well as the self-employed are liable to ensure the safety of people who are not employed by them, but are most likely to be affected by their operations in some way. Therefore, businesses that permit the public to use lifting equipment are responsible for equipment maintenance and risk management and are required to abide by the strict terms and conditions of the LOLER and PUWER.
LOLER has also specified guidelines on the selection of the right lifting equipment. Employers need to make sure that all lifting equipment is installed in such a way that it reduces the risk of injuries which may arise when a load is unintentionally released or when a load falls freely or strikes a person. In addition, all lifting equipment and accessories need to indicate the safe working loads (SWL) that they can lift safely. In some cases, the SWL of an equipment or accessory may depend on its configuration and so the SWL information must disclose all configurations and the corresponding load capacities. Accessories should also bear indications to reflect the parameters that may affect their safe use. When lifting operations involve the lifting of people, employers need to hire specialists who can handle operations safely.
Planning lifting operations is crucial to ensuring operational safety. This will require staff to practise prudence and foresee risks before they translate into incidents. This can be managed through appropriate allocation of resources including human resources. The planning process may typically involve an attention-to-detail approach on a number of criteria including pre-use checking, overload, proximity hazards, environment, visibility, attaching and detaching loads, and equipment re-use. Simply put, the plan needs to clearly state the actions that may be needed at each step as well as the responsibilities that are allocated to personnel.
If you have any LOLER and PUWER Crane Servicing inspection requirements there are a huge number of companies all over the world who will undertake the inspection or service required to ensure that your company and equipment stay compliant while your employees and workers stay safe. Simply take a quick google search for those types of companies in your local area.