Part 3 - Ensuring your equipment is safe to use and legally compliant
On 10th May the government set out its ‘road map out of lockdown.’ In England, if you work in construction or manufacturing, or can't do your job from home, you'll now be able to return to work providing you can maintain social distancing requirements.
To ensure the workplace is safe for employees to return, risk assessments will be needed to adapt operations whilst preventing the spread of COVID-19. In part 1 of this blog series, we looked at planning and assessing risks in detail and in part 2, we reviewed the hygiene and social distancing guidelines for Covid-19 within the context of working at height.
A key consideration for many companies having temporarily closed off their operations and are now returning to work is ensuring that work at height equipment is safe to use and legally compliant. In part 3 of this blog series we will look at the steps you may need to undertake to prepare.
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) during the coronavirus outbreak
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces several pieces of legislation that contain requirements for time-bound statutory inspections, service and maintenance Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
An emerging consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is the challenges faced by the industry in meeting the requirements to complete statutory thorough examination and testing (TE&T) of plant and equipment to meet duties under LOLER.
In response, the HSE has released guidance to help inspectors and duty holders ensure that their work plant and equipment remain safe to use in light of the current challenges and help guide decision making to see if TE&T requirements can still be met.
Duty-holders have a legal responsibility to maintain work equipment and carry out thorough examinations, written schemes and Statutory Inspections. These legal duties exist to help manage the significant hazard that the failure of such equipment can pose, not complying with these duties can significantly increase the risk of harm to workers and members of the public.
The full guidance can be downloaded here and a summary of the guidance can be viewed at: www.hse.gov.uk/news/work-equipment-coronavirus.htm
A restart checklist might include:
- Checking all equipment will be within the LOLER date for when you plan to reopen.
- Ensure that equipment is safe for use, maintained and in a safe condition in accordance with PUWER. Download our MEWP daily checklist.
- Ensure your service provider such as HLS is contacted to arrange an inspection in advance of the LOLER due date or the date you are looking to return to work.
- Check fuel/ oil levels and batteries are charged (replacements can be ordered if required).
- Check the condition of your equipment, so you can make arrangements for service and repair if necessary. Make sure your service provider is also aware of any known faults ahead of repair and maintenance site visits so parts can be ordered in advance.
- Assess all training requirements to cover any temporarily reduced staff numbers.
- Assess any hire requirements for equipment which may be needed for specific reopening tasks, (consideration will also need to be given to lead times for any equipment that needs to be ordered).
IPAF have just released a COVID-19 SAFE OPERATING GUIDANCE document for using MEWPS MCWPs and Hoists
You can download the IPAF Guidance here:
How HLS can help
Throughout the lockdown, we have been keeping our customers who provide essential services in health care, medical research, manufacturing and FM operational, safe, productive and fully compliant whilst taking preventative measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
We have been able to adapt quickly and have worked hard to overcome the challenges of social distancing and additional hygiene requirements to provide essential maintenance and compulsory LOLER services to our customer’s buildings and sites.
Our team is ready to help any business or organisation seeking advice on how to prepare to re-open effectively
Here at HLS, we can provide a remote site survey and risk assessment support service as well as phone or email technical support on any work at height concerns or requirements, helping your business adapt quickly and safely during the coronavirus outbreak.
Site visits from our engineers to provide essential repair and maintenance or LOLER inspections can be arranged where social distancing guidelines can be maintained.
We can also provide a range of work at height equipment for flexible hire, *lease or purchase and we will continue to deliver training courses, including bespoke training to meet your specific requirements.
*for incorporated companies only.