Director, veritas consulting safety services

October 20, 2014

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Do You Use Lifting Equipment? Avoid a £20,000 Fine!

A North London meat wholesalers was fined over £20,000 last month for operating a fault-ridden 2.5 tonne forklift truck with a forged positive exam report.

Now, forging the safety report was obviously extreme behaviour, and we don’t need to even mention to any of our lovely readers what a dumb and dangerous idea that is. But it is worth reminding ourselves how important it is to properly look after all heavy lifting equipment.

Heavy damage, heavy fines

Just in August a lorry driver was crushed to death in Stonehaven when a forklift truck dropped its 1.5 tonne load on him. And the company was fined £240,000 for inadequately training the driver. Lifting equipment accidents are serious – and costly!

Talking about the North London meat wholesaler, HSE inspector Tahir Mortuza said, “They were required by law to make sure their forklift truck was maintained regularly and properly examined to allow the identification of safety-critical defects. It failed to do this and the vehicle was allowed to deteriorate to the point of being riddled with faults.”

So, is any of your equipment riddled with faults? Even a few faults is a few too many.

It’s well-worth getting hold of and reading the detailed ‘Safe Use of Lifting Equipment Guide.’ And here is your brief intro to safely using most lifting equipment;

Your Intro to LOLER Lifting Equipment

You need to know your (amusingly named) LOLER, which is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Regulations (LOLER) act of 1998.

Your main LOLER responsibility is making sure that any on-site lifting equipment exposed to conditions which could deteriorate it (wetness, abrasive, or corrosive environments) is regularly examined by a competent person to make sure it’s fault-free. And make sure any extra tests are carried out as well.

What equipment is LOLER lifting equipment?

Basically any equipment on site which lifts or in any way helps lifting. This includes cranes, construction hoists, workplace lifts (for passengers or goods), dumb waiters, scissors lifts, vehicle tail lifts, vehicle lifts, bath hoists, stair-lifts, industrial lift trucks and telehandlers. Also any slings, hooks, shackles eyebolts and ropes used for work positioning or climbing.

Equipment examination – when, how often, and by whom?

Your ‘competent person’ doing the examinations should be someone with a tonne of experience working with this kind of equipment. And not the same person who does the routine maintenance, because it’s hard to assess your own work accurately.   Someone objective enough to make good decisions, and best of all someone employed by an outside company.

When to do it? Examine the equipment before its first use, after every time it’s assembled or moved, many times when it’s being used.

Your Inspection Regime

It’s best and easiest to set up your own thorough inspection regime, which will make it quicker for you to do a top notch job each time.

This will give you a detailed checklist to go through, and it should identify the parts of the equipment used for lifting, all the accessories, and a time scale of when the checks have been made and any changes. Review your schedule regularly – a complete and easy safety record for that particular piece of equipment.

Take the time to make one, it’s worth the effort! And it’ll keep your workers much safer and your company fine-free.

You can go over all this in more detail with this free LOLER guide.

What lifting equipment do you regularly use?

Now it’s your turn, Got any questions?

Ask away below

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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