Importance of Lifts and Lifting equipment Safety and Maintenance

Published: 25 May 2021

On Sunday 23rd May 2021 an incident occurred involving a cable car that fell around 20m to the ground after a cable snapped during its incline up a mountain in northern Italy.

The cable car line had recently undergone a multi-million Euro refurbishment after being closed in 2014 and later reopening in 2016. The lifts had again not long re-opened following closures due to COVID19 restrictions that came into force last year. A full investigation has yet to be initiated into what happened.

Considering this incident and the terrible loss of life, it demonstrates the impact of poor management of lifts and lifting equipment.

In the UK lifts and lifting equipment (whether a passenger, goods lift or load bearing lifting equipment) are bound by the Lifting Operations and Lifting equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998.

All types of lifting equipment will need to have a thorough examination by a competent person. When completing a thorough examination, the equipment and the most critical components in respect of the equipment safety need to be checked, this should be done at regular intervals and findings detailed in a written report -Information on what is to be included within the assessment can be found in LOLER schedule 1 of the LOLER regulations 1998, which can be found here.

Unless stated otherwise, an inspection should be carried out at the following intervals:

  • For lifting equipment and any other equipment used to lift people/ passengers - Every 6 months
  • For lifting accessories - Every 6 months
  • For all other lifting equipment - Every 12 months

The competent person inspecting the lift or lifting equipment will follow an industry standard criteria when completing the inspection, this combined with the professional judgement of the person will ensure the ongoing safety of the equipment. This is achieved using techniques such as:

  • Visual examinations
  • Functional checks
  • Measuring wear of components
  • Load testing
  • Non destructive testing

In some cases, there may be a need to disassemble the equipment to inspect internal parts. This may be determined as a part of a written scheme which will identify the parts that are to be examined, the methods that are required of the examination and testing and the examination frequency.

Maintaining the equipment:

Equipment should be maintained to ensure it is safe to use. This is a requirement of PUWER regulations. In some instances, to help identify any deterioration, lifting equipment will need to be inspected thorough examinations. These inspections will also need to be done by a competent person. This can be the lift equipment operator or maintenance staff.

What is PUWER and what equipment does it cover?

PUWER is the abbreviation for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The regulations deal with the machinery and work equipment used daily in workplaces and aims to keep people safe where equipment and machines are used at work.

Generally, any equipment that is used by staff when at work is covered by PUWER, things such as knives, ladders, drilling machines, saws, computers, photocopiers and lifting equipment - including lifts.

For further advice contact the CSC team