What is a Thorough Examination?
A Thorough Examination is a statutory requirement for lifting equipment under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98), Regulation 9. It has the same purpose as an MOT inspection by providing a report that identifies whether or not the lifting equipment is safe to use, and/or advice that needs to be followed to avoid risks in use. It is just as important as an MOT - probably more so! There is a legal requirement for a Thorough Examination to be carried out at least every 6 or 12 months depending upon the type of lifting equipment, and often more frequently depending on conditions of use.
There are legal requirements under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98), Regulation 6. They require all safety aspects of the lifting equipment to be inspected, and actions specified to remedy any defects found before they can create risks in use. To avoid duplication of effort the inspection of these other items would normally be carried out within the Thorough Examination.
What is a LOLER Inspection?
The term LOLER Inspection is sometimes used, incorrectly, to describe a Thorough Examination. It is used because LOLER is the shortened version of "Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998". These regulations, and the associated Approved Code of Practice, prescribe the format to be used for the Report of a Thorough Examination. It is safest to stick to the term Thorough Examination.
What is a Safety Inspection?
Safety Inspection is a term sometimes used to describe Thorough Examination under LOLER 98 and other inspection requirements under PUWER 98.
What does a Thorough Examination involve? What is examined?
Thorough Examination is the inspection of lifting equipment, as required by LOLER 98, and other safety related components or equipment, as required by PUWER 98. A Competent Person is required to examine these items, check them for serviceability ?and report accordingly. It is not a full maintenance inspection of the equipment. A Thorough Examination is substantially different from a maintenance inspection and the Competent Person has different duties to fulfill under the law.
Is a Thorough Examination a legal requirement?
Yes. Please refer to the HSE Publications (see Useful Links).
Who is responsible for making sure that Lifting Equipment has a current Report of Thorough Examination?
In simple terms it is the employer of the operator who has this responsibility. Under Health and Safety legislation the employer has a duty of care - "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, as far as is reasonably practical, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees". The employer must ensure that the equipment that his/her operators use, are safe. This is achieved through the implementation of a programme of Thorough Examinations. (It should be remembered that Thorough Examinations run alongside necessary maintenance procedures and checks, not in place of them.)
Where the employer is the owner of the equipment this duty is clear. The employer must make arrangements for lifting equipment to be Thoroughly Examined on a regular basis, at least once every 6 or 12 months - depending upon the type of lifting equipment being used.
If the employer is not the owner of the lifting equipment but leases or rents it on a long-term basis, usually 12 months or more, the responsibility is the same as though, the lifting equipment was owned by the employer.
If the lifting equipment is provided on a short-term contract, a contract of less than 12 months, then the owner of the lifting equipment, the rental company, is responsible for arranging the Thorough Examination. However, the employer must still satisfy himself that such an examination has been conducted at an appropriate time. This can be achieved by insisting that a copy of the current Report of Thorough Examination is provided with other rental documentation.
How do I know that hired Lifting Equipment has a current Report of Thorough Examination?
Ask to see a copy of the report.
Who can carry out a Thorough Examination?
The legislation refers to a Competent Person. For the purpose of Thorough Examination a Competent Person is an experienced service engineer or examiner who meets the general criteria explained in LOLER 98.
What happens if the Lifting Equipment fails the Thorough Examination?
Fail is not really the right word. At the time of the Thorough Examination the Competent Person will make a report. On the report he will list any defects he has found. If there are no defects then the equipment can continue in use.With defects that do not create imminent risk a timescale may be given within which the faults must be rectified. The defects must be rectified within this period, but meanwhile the equipment may continue in use.
Alternatively, the equipment may be taken out of use until the faults have been rectified. The Competent Person will check that the defects have been rectified, within the given period, at the time of the next Thorough Examination.
Where there is a defect that could imminently be of danger to persons, the Competent Person may recommend that the equipment cannot be used until the fault has been rectified. In these circumstances the equipment must be taken out of use immediately. It may not be used again until the defect has been rectified.
Will the Competent Person report us to the Health & Safety people?
Not normally. However, he does have a duty to send a copy of his report to the relevant enforcing authority in certain situations. This applies where there is, in his opinion, a defect in the lifting equipment involving an existing or imminent risk of serious personal injury. This requirement is limited to those cases where there would be a risk of serious personal injury arising from failure of the lifting equipment should anyone attempt to use it.
If I want to read more about this subject what should I read?
The following publications can be purchased from HSE Books (Tel: 01787 881165)
- Safe Use of Work Equipment
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
- (PUWER 98)
- Approved Code of Practice And Guidance
- HSE Code L22
- ISBN Code 0-7176-1626-6 Safe Use of Lifting Equipment ?Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98)
- Approved Code of Practice and Guidance
- HSE Code L113
- ISBN Code 0-7176-1828-2
IPAF - The International Powered Access Federation
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) promotes the safe and effective use of powered access worldwide. Set up in 1983, IPAF is a not-for-profit members organization that represents the interests of manufacturers, distributors, users, rental and training companies. It serves as a forum for all active in the world of powered access. IPAF has played a key role in promoting many of the design, safety and testing procedures that are now established in the powered access industry.
The IPAF Competent Assessed Persons (CAP) programme focuses on a crucial aspect of safety-that of the machine itself.
Successful assessment provides suitable candidates with the valuable documentary evidence that they are certified as competent persons to plan, manage or carry out thorough examinations of platforms in the context of current legislation including the Work at Height Regulations, LOLER and PUWER 98.
Access Service & Maintenance Ltd can confirm that all our engineers are IPAF CAP certified to ensure all Thorough Examinations and repairs are carried out to the highest of standards.