Many current UK regulations, including Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment regulations 1998 and Working at Height Regulations 2005 and (amendment) 2007, require all personal protective equipment (PPE) and working at height equipment to be inspected at regular intervals by a ‘Competent person’.
With over 30 years in the industry we have the technical know how, experience and training to be well placed to deliver detailed inspections on PPE for the outdoor sector as well as Operational checks for Ropes Courses, and guidance on Risk Assessments and Operational Procedures.
Our clients come from across the outdoor sector, from the Outward Bound Trust, Macclesfield and Congleton Scouts, Barnswood Scout Camp, and we have carried out inspections on behalf of AdventureMark and LOtC across the UK, Spain and Switzerland.
Do I really need to have my PPE inspected?
‘Thorough examinations’ by a ‘competent person’ of any lifting equipment used for lifting persons (such as Rope Access Personal Protective Equipment) are required by law to be conducted at least every 6 months (or less if recommended by the equipment manufacturer) as detailed in the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998 (Regulation 9).
- 9. (1) Every employer shall ensure that before lifting equipment is put into service for the first time by him it is thoroughly examined for any defect unless either —
- (a) the lifting equipment has not been used before; and
- (b) in the case of lifting equipment for which an EC declaration of conformity could or (in the case of a declaration under the Lifts Regulations 1997) should have been drawn up, the employer has received such declaration made not more than 12 months before the lifting equipment is put into service; or, if obtained from the undertaking of another person, it is accompanied by physical evidence referred to in paragraph (4).
- (2) Every employer shall ensure that, where the safety of lifting equipment depends on the installation conditions, it is thoroughly examined—
- (a) after installation and before being put into service for the first time; and
- (b) after assembly and before being put into service at a new site or in a new location, to ensure that it has been installed correctly and is safe to operate.
- (3) Subject to paragraph (6), every employer shall ensure that lifting equipment which is exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is—
- (a) thoroughly examined—
- (i) in the case of lifting equipment for lifting persons or an accessory for lifting, at least every 6 months;
- (ii) in the case of other lifting equipment, at least every 12 months; or
- (iii) in either case, in accordance with an examination scheme; and
- (iv) each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the lifting equipment have occurred; and
- (b) if appropriate for the purpose, is inspected by a competent person at suitable intervals between thorough examinations, to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time.
- (a) thoroughly examined—
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (Regulation 12 (3)) require that equipment which is exposed to conditions which may cause deterioration or each time exceptional circumstances have occurred should be inspected.
- (3) Every employer shall ensure that work equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is inspected—
- (a) at suitable intervals; and
- (b) each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred, to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time.
Intermittent inspections in between thorough examinations (in addition to standard pre-use checks) should be carried out in accordance with your risk assessment as required under the Management of Health and Safety at Work (MHSW) Regulations 1999.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) require employers to maintain fall arrest equipment in good repair, including appropriate replacement.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 no longer applies to work equipment for lifting loads including persons (Regulation 6 – 5c)
Logging of the ‘thorough examinations’ and intermittent ‘inspections’
Under LOLER, a ‘thorough examination’ report must be made by the competent person as soon as is practicable and any defects reported forthwith to the employer and any person from whom the lifting equipment has been hired or leased. A report of any defects which involve ‘an existing or imminent risk of serious personal injury’ must be sent to the relevant enforcing authority.
‘Certificate of conformities’ should be kept for so long as the lifting equipment remains in use, whilst the ‘thorough examination’ reports must be kept for at least 2 years. Both should be readily available to the end user and to inspectors from any relevant enforcing authority in the case of a ‘thorough examination’.
The intermittent ‘inspection’ reports should be kept until the next ‘inspection or’ ‘thorough examination’.