The importance of regular servicing and maintenance of vehicle lifts and other workshop equipment is well understood, but to fully comply with the latest health and safety legislation, including Reports of Thorough Examination further steps need to be taken, says James Radford, Sales and Marketing Director.
As a result, equipment providers such as TOTALKARE Heavy Duty Workshop Solutions are evolving to provide a more comprehensive service that goes well beyond simply supplying equipment or carrying out repairs when something goes wrong.
James explained: “The vehicle workshop environment is becoming ever more complex, not just in terms of the engineering challenges faced by employees but also, for employers, the management of safe working practices, increasing risk of litigation and ever more stringent legislation.
“As a result, managers and owner operators are becoming increasingly reliant on suppliers of workshop equipment to help them through the maze of regulations relevant to the products they sell, lease or hire.”
An obvious example of the difficulties faced by workshop managers is the interpretation of Provision and Use of Workshop Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).
“Whilst PUWER regulations, which cover proper maintenance and servicing of all workshop equipment, are generally well understood, the provisions within LOLER regulations are often overlooked or misunderstood,” James said.
“Key to this confusion is the fact that Reports of Thorough Examination are additional to planned maintenance required by PUWER.”
Why is a Report of Thorough Examination Required?
The LOLER regulations state that Reports of Thorough Examination are required: Where work equipment is of a type where the safe operation is critically dependent on its condition in use and deterioration would lead to a significant risk to the operator or other workers.
According to the HSE, a Report of Thorough Examination is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and its safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals by a competent person who must then complete a written report.
In this case, the term ‘competent person’ is not defined in law, but LOLER guidance states that they have appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment to be examined, as this will enable them to detect defects or weaknesses. It will also enable them to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the equipment.
Whilst the ‘competent person’ may be employed by the company operating the lifts, they must be sufficiently independent and impartial to ensure that in-house examinations are made without fear or favour.
“This is why it can be far easier for businesses to engage an external organisation to undertake the reports, and no one knows our lifts better than us,” James said.
“We also have unrivalled experience of lifts from other manufacturers, and can carry out reports on both hydraulic and electromechanical lifts.”
As well as requiring dates for both the examination date, and the date on which the next is due, the completed reports must list any defects which are, or could become, a danger to people.
Where serious defects are identified, the competent person carrying out the examination must immediately report this verbally to the duty holder. This should then be followed by the written report, a copy of which must also be sent to the relevant enforcing authority.
Whilst lifts that are not used to elevate people should be inspected at least once every 12 months, it is widely recognised as industry good practice to do this every six months.
The LOLER regulations also require full risk assessments to be carried out at least twice a year on lifts that see individuals routinely working beneath raised vehicles.
“We can ensure that the reports are carried out regularly, in line with all current regulations, leaving workshop operators to get on with their day-to-day duties,” James added.