What is lifting equipment?

“Work equipment” means any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work (whether exclusively or not). “Lifting equipment is a subset or “work equipment”. “Lifting equipment” means work equipment for lifting or lowering loads & includes its attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. “Lifting operation” means an operation concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load.

The legal definitions of work equipment and lifting equipment can be found in the Provision and Use or Work Equipment 1998 Approved Code of Practice and the Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations Approved Code of Practice 1998.

What do departments need to do to manage lifting equipment?

Departments must ensure that:

  • That suitable lifting equipment is provided in the first instance;

  • That lifting equipment and lifting operations are subject to risk assessment;

  • That lifting equipment is subject to appropriate inspection and maintenance;

  • That lifting equipment users are trained in the use of that equipment; and

  • That lifting equipment is subject to a thorough examination at an appropriate frequency.

What should be done to ensure equipment is suitable?

Departments must provide suitable lifting equipment in the first instance. The provision of suitable lifting equipment (include purchases of new equipment and providing equipment from stocks held) must be informed by a risk assessment. An example risk assessment that Departments can adopt or adapt can be found in the Lifting Equipment and Lifting Operations Standard.

Before purchasing an item of lifting equipment, Departments must make sure that the equipment is the subject of a “Declaration of Conformity” and is CE marked. To harmonise standards, the EU has issued directives for essential health & safety requirements with which lifting equipment must comply. A “Declaration of conformity” is a documented claim issued by the manufacture or supplier that the lifting equipment is compliant with the essential requirements. The requirement for a “Declaration of conformity” is not retrospective, but does apply to all new equipment.

Lifting equipment must be clearly marked with Safe working load (with markings for each configuration if appropriate) & its suitability or not for the use of lifting persons. Lifting equipment accessories must be marked with safe working load & other characteristics necessary for safe operation.

A ‘safe working load’ (SWL) is a value or set of values based on the strength and/or stability of the equipment when lifting. A range of safe working loads can be specified for the same equipment when used in different configurations. The SWL is usually expressed in terms of the maximum load that the equipment may safely lift, as for cranes & lifting attachments, or the actual capacity of the equipment in the case of fork-lift trucks.

What is required by way of inspection and maintenance?

Departments must ensure that lifting equipment remains suitable for use. This must include suitable pre-use checks, periodic inspection and such maintenance as is appropriate. This process should be informed by risk assessment.

If preventative maintenance is essential to maintain lifting equipment in a safe condition, then a maintenance log must be kept.

If inspections are essential to maintain lifting equipment in a safe condition, then an inspection log must be kept.

Who is allowed to operate lifting equipment?

Departments must ensure that persons who use lifting equipment are competent to do so and that they receive appropriate information, instruction and training.

Departments must ensure that individual lifting operations are planned & supervised by a competent person.

What is a thorough examination and what arrangements are in place for this?

Lifting equipment must be subject to a thorough examination by a competent person at appropriate intervals. The “examination scheme” means a suitable scheme drawn up by a competent person. A “thorough examination” means a thorough examination by a competent person and, where it is appropriate, such testing by a competent person as is appropriate.

Estates will collate an organisation wide schedule of lifting equipment which requires a thorough examination. The details held in the schedule will be such that items listed in the schedule can be clearly identified

Estates will make annual checks with Departments to ensure that the schedule is current. Departments will check the schedule against the equipment that they hold and report additions and deletions to the schedule.

Departments must report additions and deletions to the schedule that occur between checks.

How are the thorough examination results reported?

The competent person appointed to perform the through examinations will report the results of the though examination to Estates.

If the though examinations shows an item of lifting equipment to be in a dangerous state, then the competent person will make an instant report to Estates. Estates will contact the Head of Department to report that the item must be withdrawn from service

Estates will report the results of the though examinations to the Departments which own or use the equipment.