A thorough examination needs to be carried out by a competent person. Where equipment is used to lift people, after it is commissioned, even if it is not repositioned and there are no incidents, there is still a requirement for a competent person to examine the equipment every 6 months unless there is an examination scheme that specifies a different timescale.
This will depend on the judgement of the competent person undertaking the examination, but needs to include all matters which affects safety including hoists and accessories, and their likely deterioration with time.
For most common lifting equipment and accessories, there are industry standard procedures and criteria which a competent person would follow.
An examination scheme involves a thorough examination and would include a detailed schedule of checks, appropriate examination techniques and testing requirements, drawn up to suit the operating conditions of a specific item of lifting equipment. This can help ensure that the resources you spend more accurately reflect the level of risk. The examination scheme:
LOLER considers a competent person to be someone with the relevant technical knowledge and practical experience of lifting equipment to enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the specific equipment being examined. This person should be sufficiently independent and impartial. However, this does not mean that they should be employed by an external company. If someone in the organisation has the necessary competence they can use it. However, ‘in house’ examiners must have genuine authority and independence to ensure examinations are properly carried out and that the necessary recommendations arising from them are made without fear or favour.
Most lifting equipment does not need routine load testing as part of the thorough examination, in fact some overload tests can cause damage to lifting equipment. Where testing is deemed necessary, it may not need be undertaken at every thorough examination. The need for, and nature of, testing should be based on an assessment of risk, taking account of information from the manufacturer and other relevant information, as determined by the competent person.