Lifting Equipment and Safety
Lifting equipment such as cranes, hoists and winches is designed to make lifting heavy objects safe. The manufacture of such equipment is regulated by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) to ensure that the equipment is as safe as possible. However, there are still inherent risks involved in using equipment and dealing with heavy objects. Anyone dealing with lifting materials at work needs to be aware of the relevant regulations, that equipment is properly maintained and fit for purpose.
All kinds of lifting equipment are covered by the LOLER regulations, including cranes, forklifts, hoists and platforms. Some of the key things that need to be done under the regulations include:
Making sure that it is strong and stable enough for its use. This includes checking that it is not being expected to lift more weight than it is designed for, and that it is set up correctly so that does not become unstable.
Making sure the equipment and anything it is lifting is positioned correctly. If it is not, then it might not work as intended. In the worst case scenario, a load could fall and kill or injure someone.
Checking that the equipment has relevant safety information clearly displayed on it. Employees may not always remember exactly how to use each piece of equipment, and new employees will not know at all, so it is important to make sure the information is always there. It should include details of the safe load for the equipment and how to use it.
Making sure that anyone operating lifting equipment knows how to use it. This should include arranging training and supervising where necessary. Staff working around the equipment but not operating it should also be aware of basic safety precautions.
Lifting equipment should be thoroughly examined when it is new to make sure that it is in working order and fit for purpose. It should also be checked on a regular basis, and any necessary maintenance work carried out.
It is worth remembering that some equipment is potentially dangerous. Every year in the UK, people are killed and injured when using lifting equipment. However, most accidents are entirely avoidable. They are generally due to misuse of the equipment. That is an issue that can be solved by careful training and close supervision. Poor maintenance is another key cause of accidents, and again that is an issues that is very easily solved.
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