Viewed by many as a thorn in the side, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations – or LOLER – checks can be employed as a really useful tool.
More importantly, they can ensure you stay on the right side of the law, as well as keeping your insurers sweet.
True, the checks do come at a cost, but a regularly tested and maintained machine will have most problems identified before they become expensive or cause a a serious accident.
The HSE and insurance underwriters are putting increasing emphasis on the value of on-farm checks of lifting equipment.
In the event of an accident, those farms that have their equipment inspected regularly and keep documentation to prove its work-worthiness are more likely to avoid the cost and misery of fines and possible prosecution.
There is also the danger that without proof of a machine’s safety, insurance policies may be invalidated.
What is LOLER 98?
LOLER is aimed at ensuring that all lifting operations are properly planned, that lifting equipment is used in a safe manner, and that it is thoroughly examined for safety.
What the law says
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require “all employers to assess the risks to employees and any others who may be affected by their undertaking, to enable them to identify measures necessary to comply with their duties under health & safety law”.
Employers and the self-employed have a responsibility under LOLER to ensure:
Lifting equipment is fit for its purpose under conditions of use. Machines are in a safe condition for work. Machines are inspected at regular intervals by a competent person (not daily checks). Machines are strong and stable enough for the particular use. Machines are marked to indicate safe working loads. Machinery is used safely, ie the work is planned, organised and performed by competent people. Machinery is subject to ongoing, thorough examination.
The rules aim to reduce risks to people’s health and safety from lifting equipment provided for use at work.
In addition to the requirements of LOLER, lifting equipment is subject to the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
What kit should be examined?
Fore end loaders. Fork-lift trucks. Telescopic handlers. Workshop hoists and rope hoists. Workshop lifting equipment – bottle jacks, etc. Cranes on machines (eg fertiliser spreaders or lorry cranes.)
How often is an examination required?
Every 12 months unless the lifting equipment is being used to lift people, in which case the equipment (which includes forklift working platforms) must be examined every six months.
When to thoroughly examine?
When it is first put to use. After major refurbishment or repair. After installation at a new location. At intervals suitable to detect deterioration arising from wear and tear.
Who carries out an inspection?
Lifting equipment is required to be thoroughly examined to comply with LOLER 1998 and PUWER 1998, by an approved engineer – a competent person.
BAGMA has a list of competent persons, as do insurance companies. Ian Jones
Ian Jones is the director general of the British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA), which represents the interests of machinery dealers across the country. He has recently been awarded a Natwest Nuffield Scholarship to investigate the issues surrounding the “recruitment, retention and development of staff in land-based industries”.
BAGMA-approved competent persons have met the requirements to carry out examinations, including:
Two-day thorough examination training course. One-day risk assessment course. Minimum of five years’ experience as an engineer on lifting equipment. Registration on the Register of Landbased Operatives (ROLO). BAGMA members can carry out a brake test using BrakeSafe technology.
Check operation of all truck’s functions, controls, lights, safety systems, etc. Operator’s area is clean of any clutter, tools, etc. Adequate lighting and safe working facilities must be provided. Further reading: Agricultural Information Sheet No.28 LOLER – How the regulations apply to agriculture, free from HSE Books (phone: 01787 881 165 or www.hse.gov.uk)