A wide range of lifting equipment is in use throughout the University and includes lifting machines such as passenger and goods lifts, overhead cranes, forklifts, pallet trucks, hydraulic jacks, lifting tables, winches etc. and items of lifting tackle such as slings, shackles, eyebolts etc. Regulations on the use of such equipment exist and require that all lifting equipment be:
- strong and stable enough for the particular use and marked to indicate safe working loads;
- positioned and installed to minimise any risks;
- used safely, i.e. the work is planned, organised and performed by trained and competent people;
- subject to ongoing thorough examination and, where appropriate, inspection by competent people.
Estates and Buildings is responsible for maintenance of the majority of passenger and goods lifts within University buildings. However, other items of lifting equipment are normally the responsibility of the management unit under whose control the equipment is operated.
All management units must ensure that they have an inventory of lifting equipment used within the unit and that arrangements are in place for maintenance of this. Each item will also require a periodic “thorough examination”. The University has an arrangement with a specialist company who carry out these examinations on a central basis, currently at no cost to individual units. All management units who have lifting equipment should ensure that their equipment is listed on the central register and receives periodic examinations. Access to the register and to the reports can be arranged by contacting SEPS.
When lifting equipment is purchased it is supplied with a Declaration of Conformity (previously called a Proof Load Certificate) which certifies it as fit for use. It is important that these documents are identified and retained whenever equipment is purchased as they are required as part of the thorough examination process. If these documents are not available arrangments may be needed to have equipment re-certificated, which can be costly. Due to the need for certification and testing it is generally not economically viable nor legal to use home-built or modified lifting equipment. Where this is unavoidable SEPS should be consulted for advice.
When through examination reports are issued they may contain requirements for maintenance or repair. It is the responsibility of the unit in managerial control of the equipment to ensure that any work specified as essential for continued safety is carried out.
Note that use of equipment that has not received a thorough examination within the legally required time limit applicable to that equipment is illegal.
These requirements, and others not mentioned above, are set by the Lifting Equipment and Lifting Operations Regulations 1998 (LOLER). Staff involved in such work should familiarise themselves with the requirements of this legislation and with the associated Approved Code of Practice.
This HSE leaflet provides a simple starting point. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg290.pdf