Pre-use checks and maintenance

Pre-use checks should be carried out at the start of any session or when there is a change in operator/s. Routine maintenance ensures equipment continues to operate as intended.

Pre-Use Checks

The inspection criteria should be linked to the Risk Assessment and any Examination Schedule in place and should include all aspects of the equipment being used, particularly the hoist itself and slings. They should be carried out by someone who is trained to carry out this work. It is important to note that the HSE recommend that this person should not normally be the same as the ‘competent person’ to ensure independence and prevent an individual examining their own work. It also provides a regular double check of the equipment. The manufacturer will be able to advise on the checks that should be carried out on which parts of the equipment. There is no requirement for these checks to be recorded. However, it is expected that there will be clear policy and procedure in place to ensure that any concerns raised during pre-use checks are followed up and that faulty equipment cannot be used prior to any remedial action being taken.


Routine maintenance typically involves checking and replacing worn or damaged parts, lubrication, replacing time-expired components, topping up fluid levels and making routine adjustment. This is to ensure the equipment continues to operate as intended, and risks associated with wear or deterioration are avoided.

The regular thorough examination may indicate areas of poor maintenance, but it is not intended to replace it. You should not wait for the results of a thorough examination before carrying out maintenance on your lifting equipment.

The frequency of such inspections should be determined through risk assessment, taking full account of:

  • The manufacturer’s recommendations
  • The intensity of use
  • Operating environment (temperature, weathering, corrosion etc.)
  • User knowledge and experience
  • The risk to the health and safety from any foreseeable failure or malfunction.

Safety critical parts of equipment may need a higher and more frequent level of attention than other aspects, which can be reflected within any maintenance programme. Breakdown maintenance, undertaken only after faults or failures have occurred, will not be suitable where significant risk will arise from the continued use of the equipment.

The manufacturer’s instructions should describe what maintenance is required to keep the equipment safe and how this can be done safely. These instructions should always be followed, unless there are justifiable reasons for not doing so (e.g. where more frequent maintenance is necessary due to, for example adverse environmental conditions). Maintenance on a less frequent basis than the manufacturer’s recommendation should be subject to careful risk assessment.

Maintenance logs are not required but are recommended for high risk equipment. These can provide useful information for the future planning of maintenance as well as informing maintenance personnel of previous action taken. However, if you do keep a log then you must keep it up to date.


Any adaptations you make to any part of the hoist, or slings, should be discussed with the manufacturer.

Next - clubs and centres have a responsibility to ensure volunteers and staff are trained to understand the equipment they are using.