Assessing the risks involved in using lorry-mounted lifting equipment
Hydraulic lifting equipment is complex machinery and owners and users have to be aware of the potential risks involved in using them.
In December 2014 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) produced a useful updated guide on the various issues that should be considered when carrying out a risk assessment.
First and foremost the equipment and its carrier vehicle should be in a good state of repair and regular maintenance and inspection are required under the 1998 Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).
These regulations also require that owners should assess the risks inherent in their use in particular situations, taking account of the type, weight and shape of the load to be lifted, the consequences of it falling with possible injury to a person, the risk of injury from the equipment itself and whether or not it is secure and stable.
Owners of mobile equipment whether they are using it themselves for delivery purposes or it is being hired out to other users have a duty of care under LOLER regulations to ensure it is used as safely as possible.
Operators, whether employees or people hiring the equipment need to be properly trained in its safe use, in assessing any risk in the locations where it is to be used and in ensuring there are adequate safeguards in place to prevent injury or accident.
They also need to comply with a second set of regulations, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
These are more concerned with ensuring the correct equipment is used for the purpose and also with the health and safety of the persons in the vicinity or using the equipment.
The aspects to be considered under PUWER are the integrity of the equipment, the location where it will be used and the purpose for which it will be used.
If the equipment is to be hired out it is important that clear evidence of regular maintenance and inspection, together with instructions in correct operation and use and any limitations on its use should be given to the person or persons hiring it.
Operators therefore need proper, certified training in both the use of and assessing the potential risks in its use in a particular location, particularly if the location is one where members of the public may be in the neighbourhood.