Why is regular maintenance of lifting equipment so important?
Lorry-mounted lifting equipment is complex machinery and is used in all kinds of locations, many of them where members of the public are also likely to be. This is why the regular maintenance of lifting equipment is essential.
The legislation covering all types of lifting equipment is called LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) and was first introduced in December 1998. It covers both the safety and training of operators but also the maintenance of the equipment itself.
There are a number of guides available online for download that help owners and operators of lifting equipment to ensure they stay within the law and also ensure the equipment is kept in good condition for the job it has to do.
If the maintenance of lifting equipment is lax the implications to human life and a business financially can be huge. Two useful guides are the Royal and Sun Alliance Inspection Guide (published 2013) and the CPA-ALLMI Best Practice Guide (first published June 2010) by the CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association) and ALLMI (Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturer’s and Importers) in conjunction with the HSE.
Because of the complexity of the equipment involved in a lorry loader, which includes electrical, mechanical and hydraulic systems, as well as the vehicle itself, it is advisable to have a system of regular routine inspection that can be carried out daily as well as a schedule of maintenance at intervals of 6 months or one year as outlined in LOLER.
There is inevitably going to be some wear and tear on equipment used for lifting and moving heavy loads and if left unchecked this can present dangers to both operators and others in the neighbourhood of the vehicle.
Depending on the frequency of use and the environmental conditions in which the equipment is used the CPA-ALLMI guide recommends routine daily checks.
The checks, it says, should include checks to ensure all warning signs are present, that there is no leakage of any hydraulic fluids. Hoses, pipes, and stabiliser locks are important as are correct positioning and integrity of ropes, sheaves and pulleys. The vehicle itself should be checked for such issues as tyre pressure and condition.
Maintenance checks are needed to ensure the loader is operating safely and efficiently and should be part of at least an annual planned maintenance programme or more frequently if this is recommended in the manufacturer’s handbook.
Any person carrying out the checks should be carried out by persons of sufficient competence who are independent and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made, according to the LOLER regulations. Inspection can identify any wear and tear or other defects.
It is up to the owner of the equipment to ensure anything identified is corrected and that the vehicle and equipment are legally safe to operate..
This is definitely a situation where prevention is better than cure. To understand more about the correct maintenance of lifting equipment please contact us. We are happy to help.