Posts Tagged ‘PUWER’

Is your lifting equipment safe to use?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

I am sure you will all know that if you own or operate lifting equipment in the UK you are required by law to ensure that you hold a current Report of Thorough Examination as set out in the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). Failure to hold a current report could invalidate your insurances or leave you open to prosecution.

So, is having a current LOLER Report of Thorough Examination sufficient to comply with all of your legal responsibilities as an employer or owner of the equipment? The simple answer is no.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 covers all work places and defines the obligations of all employers AND employees to ensure a safe working environment, with the employer obliged under their duty of care to asses risks and put into place policies and procedures to control said risks.

Further, under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), an employer must ensure all equipment is safely installed and safe to use and that regular inspections of the equipment is undertaken and documented by a competent person. The regular inspections may take the form of pre use check lists, interim inspections, preventative maintenance programmes etc all leading up to a LOLER examination.

A Report of Thorough Examination under LOLER can be likened to having your car undergo an annual MOT, at the time of the Thorough Examination or your cars MOT the examiner will look at all the safety related components but will not undertake any repair work or take into account any previous or future inspection / maintenance regime or lack of it. Like the MOT for your car a Thorough Examination is not part of or to be considered a substitute for the maintenance process, it should be carried out and reported on separately.

So, a Report of Thorough Examination does not quite cover all of the bases with regards to the current legislation and an employer’s duty of care.

LOLER

Who can carry out a thorough examination?

The LOLER ’98 and PUWER ’98 Regulations simply require that a thorough examination is carried out by “a competent person”, the HSE definition of a competent person is;

“The term ‘competent person’ is not defined in law but the LOLER Approved Code of Practice and guidance (paragraph 294 on competent persons) states that:

  ‘You should ensure that the person carrying out a thorough examination has such appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined as will enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment.’

 Although the competent person may often be employed by another organisation, this is not necessary, provided they are sufficiently independent and impartial to ensure that in-house examinations are made without fear or favour.

However having an external person or company complete the report of Thorough Examination does remove any doubt of having in house maintenance personnel verifying their own work.

As a practical guide the following are likely to be able to complete a Thorough Examination of your lifting equipment under LOLER ’98 and PUWER ’98 regulations;

 

  • An experienced lifting equipment engineer, preferably a *LEEA TEAM card holder.must be applicable to the examination being completed.
  • *The TEAM card will list the qualifications of the member, and these qualifications
  • The manufacturer of your lifting equipment or their certified representative.
  • A specialist inspector working for an insurance company.It is worth noting that an “insurance inspection” is not necessarily a “Thorough Examination” and before you rely on such an inspection you should make sure that the documentation you receive from an insurance company is headed “Report of Thorough Examination” and is in accordance with schedule 1 of LOLER.

 

What should be noted on a Report of Thorough Examination?

 A Thorough Examination under LOLER is a detailed examination of the safety critical parts of the equipment carried out by a competent person and will require the examiner to physically check these parts noting any defects, this will require the equipment to be removed from use during the inspection and may require covers and guards to be removed to allow thorough inspection. The report should detail the following per schedule 1 of LOLER;

 

  1. The name and address of the employer for whom the thorough examination was made.
  2. The address of the premises at which the thorough examination was made.
  3. Particulars sufficient to identify the lifting equipment including where known its date of manufacture.
  4. The date of the last thorough examination.
  5. The safe working load of the lifting equipment or (where its safe working load depends on the configuration of the lifting equipment) its safe working load for the last configuration in which it was thoroughly examined.
  6. In relation to the first thorough examination of lifting equipment after installation or after assembly at a new site or in a new location—

 

  1. that it is such thorough examination;
  2. (if such be the case) that it has been installed correctly and would be safe to operate.
  1. In relation to a thorough examination of lifting equipment other than a thorough examination to which paragraph 6 relates—

 

  1. whether it is a thorough examination—

(i) within an interval of 6 months under regulation 9(3)(a)(i);

(ii) within an interval of 12 months under regulation 9(3)(a)(ii);

(iii) in accordance with an examination scheme under regulation 9(3)(a)(iii); or

(iv) after the occurrence of exceptional circumstances under regulation 9(3)(a)(iv);

  1. (if such be the case) that the lifting equipment would be safe to operate.
  1. In relation to every thorough examination of lifting equipment—

 

  1. identification of any part found to have a defect which is or could become a danger to persons, and a description of the defect;
  2. particulars of any repair, renewal or alteration required to remedy a defect found to be a danger to persons;
  3. in the case of a defect which is not yet but could become a danger to persons—

(i) the time by which it could become such danger;

(ii) particulars of any repair, renewal or alteration required to remedy it;

  1. the latest date by which the next thorough examination must be carried out;
  2. where the thorough examination included testing, particulars of any test;
  3. the date of the thorough examination.

 

  1. The name, address and qualifications of the person making the report; that he is self-employed or, if employed, the name and address of his employer.
  2. The name and address of a person signing or authenticating the report on behalf of its author.
  3. The date of the report.

LOLER 2

When should I have a Report of Thorough Examination?

The requirement for Thorough Examination is to ensure that lifting equipment and accessories are and remain safe for use, and that we can detect and rectify any deterioration before it becomes a safety issue and as such are required throughout the lifetime of the equipment.

Before use for the first time – unless equipment has an EC declaration of conformity that is less than 12 months old.

  • After assembly and before use at every location – particularly relevant to lifting equipment hire companies.
  • Following exceptional circumstances likely to jeopardise the equipment’s safety – damage or failure, return into use after a long period, or major changes or modification.
  • Regularly whilst in service – see below.

Unless the equipment is covered under a specific “examination scheme” or increased inspections have been highlighted under a project specific Risk Assessment then Thorough Examinations should be conducted:

 

  • 6 months, for lifting equipment and any associated accessories used to lift people
  • 6 months, for all lifting accessories
  • 12 months, for all other lifting equipment

 

Under PUWER and regulation 9 (4) of LOLER, lifting equipment may also require regular maintenance and inspections to determine any deterioration that may affect the safety of the equipment. The requirement and frequency of these inspections checks or maintenance should be determined by risk assessment and manufacturers information or determined by the competent person.

 

The Thorough Examination acts as a regular safety check, and if there any defects stated in the report, it points to there being issues with your regular inspection and maintenance scheme. If the report indicates that the item is no longer fit for purpose it is likely to indicate poor installation, poorly trained operators, poorly trained maintenance personnel or an inadequate maintenance regime.

 

Is your lifting equipment really safe to use?

Generally speaking the employer of the operator / user of the lifting equipment is responsible for ensuring that lifting equipment is safe, fit for purpose and has regular inspections and thorough examinations carried out and documented.

For your own peace of mind you should make sure that you have and document regular pre use and interim operator checks, regular inspections and have a preventative maintenance plan in place to ensure that your equipment is safe to use under LOLER and PUWER.

Make sure that any insurance inspection you have on your equipment is actually a “Thorough Examination” and is accompanied with the correct documentation as required by law under LOLER and PUWER.

Make sure that you have fulfilled all of your other duties, as well as having the Thorough Examination you need to have your equipment regularly maintained, so why not use a reputable lifting equipment company to cover all aspects of your duties.

Read the Report of Thorough Examination! Do not just file this away and assume all your responsibilities are covered by having this done. You must also read the report and action any comments or recommendations given by the competent person.

The examining company will issue a report, the report will outline the equipment that has passed inspection but will also outline defects, problems and condemned equipment, it is your responsibility to act upon the report, replacing or repairing defective equipment and making sure that dangerous equipment is not put back into circulation – the examining company should have tagged and quarantined these items for you.

Like the MOT on your car you are responsible for having any defects put right AND having the equipment re-inspected following repair or to buy replacement equipment if repairs are uneconomical. A good inspection company will follow up the report with a quotation to replace or repair, or even be able to complete the repairs on site after receiving authorisation from yourself; an insurance company probably will not offer a repair or replacement service and may not even follow up on their report.

You should choose to have your Thorough Examinations and maintenance carried out by a company that are members of LEEA (Lifting Equipment Engineers Association), LEEA members are trained to understand the full scope of the regulations and possible shortfalls of duty holder’s knowledge of their requirements, and in most cases go beyond the minimum requirements that insurance companies tend to stick to.

Hoist UK are FULL members of LEEA, you can also find a list of all LEEA members on their website www.leeaint.com .

Should your entertainment chain hoists be PAT tested ?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

A request from one of our customers sparked a debate in the office, so here are the thoughts of our Tony Dickson, for further discussion:

“Well, this is a very interesting question that has been asked, and in fact there is not a simple yes or no answer and there is no formal written indications for this subject.

As far as I am aware there are no current laws, regulations or legislation that requires you to have any piece of equipment PAT tested, whether that be your laptop, your kettle or your chain hoist, as for claims that PAT testing is required by law, this is simply not true. There are recommendations for frequency of PAT testing and the intervals vary depending upon usage, location and type of equipment between 3 monthly to every 48 months but again not a legal requirement.

There are other regulations to consider when looking at electrical safety of a machine though, which are but not limited to Health and safety at Work Act, The Electricity at Work Regulations,  The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, to name the main contenders. All of which impose a duty of care upon employers to protect their employees and members of the public that come into contact with appliances, and so if your staff, persons that are using your equipment (on hire) or members of the public are injured through badly maintained electrical equipment, then you will be held responsible; by you I mean the owner of the piece of equipment, whether the owner knows or even understands that the equipment was unsafe – ignorance of the law is no defence – the owner may obviously seek other defence in that he has hired a competent person to complete this for him ……..

PAT testing itself is a very grey area even for the professional PAT tester, the term PAT testing actually means “Portable Appliance Testing” and was originally intended for single phase equipment fitted with a 13A fused plug, indeed most PAT testing equipment is supplied with just this test cable and the PAT tester has to “adapt” the test for other single phase equipment fitted with other types of plugs, 110V single phase and of course for 3 phase equipment.

“Portable Equipment” is defined as an appliance of less than 18kg in mass that is intended to be moved whilst in operation or an appliance which can be easily be moved whilst in operation or an appliance which can easily be moved from one place to another. Portable equipment is designed to be carried or moved from place to place between periods of use and the power connection will be made by a “flexible cord” which will terminate in a plug for connection to the fixed power supply.

Whilst a chain hoist is used in different locations there are few that could be described as portable within this definition.

So, let’s look at what is actually done when completing a PAT test on Class 1 equipment – Class 1 equipment is any appliance that requires their chassis to be earth bonded (most chain hoists you would have thought);

Before any actual electrical testing is completed some physical checks need to be performed:

  • Inspection of the plug. Normally a 13A 3 pin, single phase plug, requiring the inspector to remove the plug top and inspect the wiring, connections, fuse rating and cord grip, the inspector would then look for signs of physical damage, signs of overheating like burn marks or discolouration on the pins or terminals. I would suggest that this should be completed during a normal LOLER or PUWER inspection of any piece of electrical lifting equipment to whatever type of connector is fitted.
  • The cable should now be checked for signs of damage (insulation cut or ripped), correct anchorage (via a clamp in the plug and via a cable entry gland to the hoist which should also be provided with a clamping arrangement) and suitability of the cable itself (is it the correct cross sectional area, is it the correct type of cable). I would suggest that this should be completed during a normal LOLER or PUWER inspection of any piece of electrical lifting equipment.
  • The appliance itself would then be checked for any signs of physical damage or overheating (burn marks or discoloration). I would suggest that this should be completed during a normal LOLER or PUWER inspection of any piece of electrical lifting equipment.

Then a series of In-service tests would be performed. Typically they would be as follows:

  • Earth Continuity, a definite requirement on Class 1 equipment. I would suggest that this should be completed during a normal LOLER or PUWER inspection of any piece of electrical lifting equipment, and even go so far as to say that this is a basic protective instinct for any engineer prior to connection of any unfamiliar electrical device.
  • Insulation resistance test. Not necessarily completed during a normal LOLER inspection of any piece of electrical lifting. Insulation testing tests the integrity of the insulation around and between the copper conductors in a cable and does require specialist equipment.
  • Polarity testing on the appliance chord would be carried out on single phase equipment (is Live the Live core, is Neutral the Neutral core, is Earth the Earth core?) and similar polarity tests for 3 phase cable in that the tester would check all three live cables are indeed the three phase cores in the lead. I would suggest that this should be completed during a normal LOLER or PUWER inspection of any piece of electrical lifting equipment again prior to connecting the equipment to a supply.
  • An appliance function test will be completed to ensure that the piece of equipment is operating and performing properly. I would suggest that this should be completed during a normal LOLER or PUWER inspection of any piece of electrical lifting equipment as this is a basic fundamental check.

In summary, employers are required to provide safe equipment, they are required to ensure that equipment is and remains safe for use, they are not required to PAT test. Chain hoists are portable when used in a touring application but can they really be considered to be a “portable appliance” in the true meaning of this test? – the original test was actually meant to protect workers using single phase equipment such as kettles, toasters drilling machines, vacuum cleaners, and the like that have 13A fused plugs on them not really for bulky 3 phase equipment –  Can you actually buy a three phase PAT tester ?

Apart from the insulation test, if a competent person completes the LOLER / PUWER thorough examination properly is there any additional benefit to PAT testing ?

The question is – would this argument stand up in a court of law in that would you, as the owner, user and tester of the equipment be considered to have done everything that is reasonably practical to ensure the safety of yourself and others ?

REMEMBER: Safety Above All

Lifting Equipment Engineer Vacancy

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Hoist UK is a leading supplier and manufacturer of lifting equipment based on the Wirral Peninsular, Merseyside and are currently seeking an experienced crane / lifting equipment engineer based locally to work locally and nationally.

The ideal candidate must have previous experience within the crane / lifting equipment industry, and duties will include installation, inspection, repairs, fault finding, servicing & maintenance of a wide range of cranes and lifting equipment.

The ideal candidate must be physically fit and will be LEEA (or equivalent) trained, be fully conversant with LOLER and PUWER regulations and must hold a current full, clean UK driving license, FLT licence and MEWP licence, CSCS card an advantage but not essential.

Alongside this we are also looking for excellent written and oral communication skills, candidates must have English as a first language or be fluent in English if it is a second language and have a commitment to providing a first class customer service.

You will also be required to complete various administrative tasks with accurate record keeping and complete other duties as required.

Hours will be 8:30am to 5:00pm 5 days per week Monday to Friday (40 hour working week plus overtime); Flexibility in working hours will be essential to the successful implementation of this role.

This is a permanent position (following a trial period) and salary is negotiable dependent upon experience and skills.

This position is an immediate requirement; applications are invited from qualified individuals by email, including CV, with copies of any relevant certificates, a covering letter, a statement of availability, salary expectations and references. All references will be taken up and incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Please send your application to either:

jobs@hoistuk.com

or

FAO: Mr Tony Dickson,
Hoist UK Limited,
Unit 2, Wrynose Road,
Old Hall Estate,
Bromborough, Wirral,
CH62 3QD.

Lifting Equipment Service Engineer Position Available

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Due to our increased growth and expansion, Hoist UK Ltd require an experienced Service Engineer to install, service and repair lifting equipment  to support existing clients within the UK industrial, theatre and the touring and event industry.

The ideal candidate will have an engineering background and will have experience in a lifting equipment environment. The candidate should be able to demonstrate that they have experience of installing, commissioning, servicing, maintaining and repairing electrical and mechanical lifting equipment such as chain hoists, overhead travelling cranes, rope hoists, winches, monorails and slewing cranes at our customer sites. The suitable candidate should also have a good working knowledge of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).

The position will be based at our Bromborough works on the Wirral and will require working from our customers sites, when necessary.

Job Title: Lifting Equipment Service Engineer

Location: Bromborough based, with UK national coverage

Salary: Negotiable based on experience

Start Date: October 2011

Skills and Qualifications required:

  • Proven track record within the lifting equipment industry
  • Experience within the UK entertainment Industry in particular hoists, truss and rigging (preferred, but not essential)
  • Good IT skills including Office (Word and Excel) and ideally some basic understanding of CAD
  • Ideally an ability to read and understand electrical and /or mechanical engineering drawings
  • Knowledge and understanding of LOLER & PUWER.
  • Full clean current UK driving license
  • Holding a current IPAF & CSCS card (preferred but not essential)

An attractive remuneration package will be offered to the right candidate.

Applications will be accepted up until the 9th September 2011 with interviews commencing on the 19th September 2011 and a starting date during October 2011.

All applications and your CV should be sent to: jobs@hoistuk.com and will be kept in the strictest of confidence.