LEEA warns UK employers not to risk cutting corners on thorough examination of lifting equipment

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LEEA warns UK employers not to risk cutting corners on thorough examination of lifting equipment

LEEA is warning UK employers of the risks of being misled regarding their obligation to undertake periodic thorough examination of all lifting equipment. The advice reflects growing concerns within the lifting industry that some companies are being tempted to cut costs by not conducting thorough examinations as frequently as required by LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations).

Geoff Holden, chief executive of LEEA, said: "All UK employers are subject to LOLER, which clearly states that, once in service, lifting equipment for lifting persons or accessories for lifting must be thoroughly examined by a competent person every six months. Lifting accessories include commonly used items such as shackles, steels, hooks and round slings. Only for lifting equipment that does not fall into one of these two categories is the period extended to every 12 months."

LEEA represents nearly 900 companies in the overhead lifting industry worldwide and, in recent months, has been made aware that some users of lifting equipment are being incorrectly advised that money can be saved by extending all the intervals between thorough examinations to 12 months. Thorough examinations are usually conducted by external companies and LEEA is keen to stres that responsiblity for compliance with LOLER lies with the owner of the equipment, not suppliers of examination and inspection services. Geoff Holden said: "In the event of a prosecution, the fact that incorrect guidance had been given by an inspection company would not provide a means of defence for the employer."

LEEA is also worried that the potential provided by LOLER to specify different intervals between thorough examinations, using what is known as an 'examination scheme', is being misinterpreted. "If an employer wants to implement an examination scheme it must be formally drawn up by a competent person," stressed Geoff Holden. "Any extension to intervals must be based on a rigorous risk assessment."

LEEA is using its website, social media, newsletters and roadshow and exhibition programme to raise awareness of the risks of failure to comply correctly with LOLER regarding thorough examinations. Geoff Holden said: "This is not just about staying on the right side of the law. The requirements reflect the fact that items such as shackles, hooks and slings typically play a safety-critical role and are subject to wear-and-tear and deterioration both in use and in storage. Any short term financial savings realised by not having them checking properly every six months pale into insignificance compared with the possible consequences of failure in service."


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