The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) include requirements relating to the safe provision and use of lifting equipment. Regulation 9 of LOLER requires that all lifts (and hoists) used to lift people (or loads), be thoroughly examined by a competent person at regular intervals.
Lift owners or the person responsible for the safe operation of lifts are defined as a dutyholder under LOLER. Under the Regulations, the dutyholder is legally responsible for ensuring that the life is safe to use and that it is thoroughly examined. The dutyholder’s responsibilities include:
· Maintaining the lift so that it is safe to use
· Selecting and instructing the competent person
· Ensuring that the lift is examined at statutory intervals (every six or twelve months) or in accordance with an examination scheme drawn up be a competent person
· Making relevant documentation available to the competent person; e.g. manufacturer’s instructions and maintenance records
· Ensuring that all documentation complies with the Regulations
· Keeping records
A competent person is someone who ahs sufficient technical knowledge and practical expertise of the lift to be bale to detect any defects and assess how significant they are. They must be independent and impartial to allow them to make an objective assessment of the lift. Accreditation by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to the relevant standard (BS EN 45004) is an indication of their competence
The law requires that all lifts when in use should be thoroughly examined:
· After substantial and significant changes have been made
· At least every six months for if the lift is used to carry people, every twelve months if it only carries loads, or in accordance with an examination scheme
· Following “exceptional circumstance” such as damage to, or failure of, the lift, long periods out of use or a major change in operating conditions which is likely to affect the integrity of the equipment
A thorough examination is a systematic and detailed examination of the lift and all its associated equipment by a competent person. Its aim is to detect any defects, which are, or might become dangerous. The competent person is required to report defects to the dutyholder and, if appropriate the enforcing authority, so that appropriate remedial action can be taken.
In order to determine the extent of the thorough examination, the competent person will assess the risks. Considering factors such as:
· Where the lift will be used
· Frequency of use
· Age and condition
· The weight of loads to be lifted
A thorough examination may include some testing, if the competent person considers it to be necessary. Examination may also be supplemented by inspection, which would include both visual and functional checks; e.g. that the alarm interlocks operate correctly.
Preventive maintenance differs from thorough examination because it involves replacing worn or damaged parts, topping up fluid levels and making routine adjustments to ensure risks are avoided. Thorough examination, however, will check that the maintenance has been carried out properly.
Examination schemes can be used as an alternative to thorough examinations at statutory intervals. A scheme specifies periods, which are different from the statutory intervals, but must be based on an assessment of the risks. It may be appropriate if there is a lift which is used infrequently for light loads.
After the Examination
A competent person is legally required to notify the dutyholder as soon as possible, following a thorough examination, of any defects which are, or could soon become, dangerous.
When notified of a serious and significant defect, the dutyholder should immediately take the lift out of service until the fault has been addressed. Failure to do so constitutes a breach of the law. If notified by the competent person of defects that need to be made good within a certain timescale, steps should be taken to repair or replace the defective equipment within the specified time and the lift must not be used until the defect has been remedied.
The competent person is legally required to send a written and signed report of the thorough examination to the dutyholder as soon as practicable. This will normally be within twenty eight days; but if there is a serious defect, it will be sooner. Any defects which pose an “existing or imminent risk of serious personal injury” must be notified to the enforcing authority by the competent person.
By law the report must contain certain information, which is specified in Schedule 1 of LOLER. It will:
· Identify the equipment examined (serial number, make etc)
· Name the premises
· Specify the safe working load of the lift
· Identify any defect which is or may become a danger to people
· Give the details of any repair, renewal or alteration required to remedy the defect and the date by which it should be undertaken
· Give details of the person carrying out the report and the person validating the report of their behalf
If the report does not contain this information then it should not be accepted as this may place the dutyholder in breach of the law.
Reports of thorough examinations must be kept for at least two years or until the next report, whichever is longer. They may be kept electronically as long as a written report can be produced if necessary. If the lift is examined according to an examination scheme, a written scheme for inspection must be available for inspectors if necessary.
Key Action Steps
Decide if you are a dutyholder and, if so:
· Appoint a competent person
· Ensure maintenance is carried out
· Arrange for thorough examinations
· Ensure records and documents are maintained
· Remedy reported defects