Several different pieces of legislation hold lift managers and duty holders legally responsible for lift safety, point out The Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed), the trade association that represents the UK independent engineering inspection and certification industry, and the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA).
LOLER, the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 requires that lifts are thoroughly examined by a competent person. If the lift carries people, the examinations are every six months; if goods-only, every 12, although the examination scheme developed for either case might alter those frequencies. A thorough examination ‘is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals’.
Second, Regulation 5 of PUWER (Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) requires that work equipment be maintained in an efficient state, in working order and in good repair. If there is a log, that should be up to date. PUWER also requires that any equipment that could be exposed to conditions that cause deterioration should be inspected.
Third, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 has two elements. Section 2 requires the lift managers and duty holders to ensure that the workplace (the lift) doesn’t pose any danger to non-employees, such as the lift maintainer. Section 3 requires them to ensure that others who may be using such equipment, such as the general public, are not endangeredby it.
Fourth, and finally, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which applies in England and Wales, requires that fire-fighters’ lifts, evacuation lifts and lifts with a fire recall function be kept in an ‘efficient state, working order and good repair.’ BS8899 is also referenced there.
To meet these various responsibilities, Nick Mellor, managing director of LEIA, offered some suggestions to duty holders:
● Have the equipment maintained
● Find a suitable maintenance contractor (LEIA’s member list is a place to start)
● Carry out basic, non-engineering checks in between maintenance and thorough examinations – ‘Is the lift levelling?’ ‘Does the door reopening device work?’ – and notify the maintenance contractor if issues are spotted
● Don’t overload the lift, and observe any limitations on its use
● Take action on defects
● Share information; share thorough examinations with maintainers, and maintenance reports with examiners.
Continues Mellor: “A good, safe regime for managing your lift asset is a three-way collaboration between these bodies.”
The duty holder is at the top of this relationship. An HSE guide to dutyholders’ responsibilities for thorough examination is available via www.is.gd/caxala.
The inspection body not only has to carry out the thorough examination, but before that is done, it must do its own assessment of what kind of examination the lift requires; they are all different. Under LOLER, certain defects must be reported by theinspection bodies to the enforcing authority, whether that is the HSE, a local authority or another body, states HSE inspector Kate Clarke.
It is the maintainer’s point of view to meet the duty holder, to understand the purpose of the lift maintenance, and then carry it out, along with any supplementary tests, when requested.
There is no legal minimum frequency of maintenance visits, states Mellor, even if 10-15 years ago, a common maintenance frequency might have been monthly. Factors that impinge on the appropriate number include the age of equipment and the intensiveness of its usage. Adds Mellor: “Maintenance visits need to be set to a period that allows for deterioration to be picked up before it becomes unsafe.”
This article was based on an SOE/SAFed/LEIA joint webinar. All of the speakers participated in the revision of SAFed document LG1, Guidelines on the supplementary tests of in-service lifts.