LOLER applies to lifting equipment defined as "work equipment for lifting or lowering loads and includes it's attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it". LOLER applies in whichever industry the lifting equipment is used, including agriculture, which previously was not covered by specific regulations.
The scope of LOLER is therefore very wide. It is difficult to provide a definitive list of those items, which must be thoroughly examined because each user must assess the risk associated with their own lifting equipment and operations.
Where a risk assessment identifies equipment as requiring thorough examination, the advice from VIS, NFUM and the NFU (from their technical guidance manual) is that it should be done:
- before first use (unless not used before and covered by EC declaration of conformity less than 12 months old)
- where exposure may cause deterioration
- for lifting equipment for lifting persons at least every 6 months
- for lifting equipment at least every 12 months
- an accessory used for lifting at least every 6 months
or at intervals defined by the competent person
- and following exceptional incidents (e.g. a major repair or after an accident)
Regulation 9 of LOLER requires lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined by a "competent person". The competent person carrying out a thorough examination should have appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined to enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment.
The guidance with the regulations states that the competent person should be sufficiently independent and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made.
The Vulcan Inspection Services engineer is a competent person in the terms of these regulations. The service engineer or plant user is unlikely to be a competent person for the reasons stated.
Examples of lifting equipment such as fork lift trucks, telescopic handlers, cranes, hoists, blocks will require thorough examination i.e. work equipment which has as it's principal function a use for lifting or lowering a load.
Lifting accessories such as chains, hooks, slings, attachments will require thorough examination.
Fore end loaders will not normally require thorough examination unless the item is being used for work for which it is not designed or where normal use could lead to exposure to injury or persons working under or around the loader. e.g. if the loader uses lifting attachments, pallet tines, chain/hook etc. or where the loader in normal use operates with persons working in the close vicinity, a thorough examination will be required.
Items specifically excluded from LOLER include, three point linkage on a tractor, conveyor belt moving articles on a horizontal level and winching to ground level and escalators
As with other legislation in the event of an accident or incident the farmer/user must be able to demonstrate "reasonable" precautions taken to remove or minimise the risk of injury or damage. An independent inspection by Vulcan Inspection Services will satisfy this requirement.