There are various rules and regulations that apply to lifting equipment, which can make it confusing even for people who have worked years in the industry. For example, LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) is a health and safety regulation, which ensures that moving and handling equipment is used properly in lifting operations. Some of the biggest risks faced by care home facilities come from the equipment used to transfer patients and care for them. Therefore, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with LOLER and what it involves. Today we will discuss some of the most important points related to LOLER in care environments. This will help you minimise mistakes made in health and safety and provide the highest quality of care possible.
What are the requirements of LOLER
LOLER is the official regulation for companies or people, who own, operate, or have control over different types of lifting equipment. It aims to ensure that all lifting equipment is safe and suitable for use in all types of working environments, such as care homes. These regulations require that all lifting operations are planned by a ‘competent person’, as well as supervised and performed properly. Consequently, it is important that workers are fully trained to use lifting equipment and work is organised appropriately by someone with sufficient experience and knowledge.
When does LOLER apply
As far as activities that require lifting equipment are concerned, LOLER applies every time lifting equipment is used regardless of whether you are the owner of it or not. Therefore, thorough inspection is necessary to check that lifting equipment is safe to use with minimal risk throughout its lifecycle. NHC Group has created a dedicated asset management portal, which is designed to support you with LOLER service, as well as other day-to-day tasks. You will receive automatic reminders for every important event and eliminate guesswork when a piece of equipment needs servicing. This also includes full insight into care equipment in all of your locations.
How often should inspections be completed
It is crucial that checks and inspections are performed at regular intervals, such as weekly, monthly, and quarterly. In general, lifting equipment and accessories associated with devices, which lift people must be inspected every 6 months. However, larger equipment designed for non-human lifting must be inspected every 12 months. The aim is to minimise and even eliminate the potential for injuries and accidents caused by faulty equipment. Regular inspections will help you identify potential issues before they occur and ensure that maintenance and servicing requirements are met fully.
Who qualifies as a ‘competent person’
A ‘competent person’ is considered to be someone who has appropriate industry knowledge and experience using specific types of lifting equipment. As a result, they should be able to perform examinations to an excellent standard, identify any problems, and report their findings. If you select a person with these skills, you will have peace of mind that they are qualified to evaluate the importance of any defects found in the equipment. Also, it is important to select a person who is independent and impartial so that decisions that may compromise the safety of the equipment are not made because of personal or company bias.
What does a ‘thorough examination’ involve
A ‘thorough examination’ is an in-depth examination of the lifting equipment and any parts that are critical to safety. To ensure you are prepared, check out this guidance provided by HSE for more information. Generally, a ‘thorough examination’ is carried out at specific intervals by a dedicated professional, who needs to complete a written report following the completion of the examination. When an examination is due for your equipment, a competent inspector will come to your business and conduct it. There are three main stages which will take place including visual examination and functional checks, measurements of wear, and non-destructive testing and load testing.
What type of records are required
Accurate record-keeping is another crucial part of LOLER Regulation, which is just as important as inspections and checks. The reporting and record-keeping process should begin at the point that lifting equipment is installed and before it is used for the first time. These and other subsequent reports must be kept and made available to inspectors for a minimum of two years. Also, the EC Declaration of Conformity must be kept for the life of the equipment, and in-service inspection records must be retained until the following inspection takes place and supersedes it.
Why is LOLER important in care homes
Lifting equipment can pose risks in any workplace. However, the danger presented in care homes can be especially high. Many accidents have occurred due to poorly-maintained lifting equipment, which has resulted in stress and pain for residents and caregivers alike. Therefore, LOLER is essential for the health care industry and it aims to ensure the safety of residents and users operating the equipment. This is a Health and Safety regulation that all care providers must adhere to. It can also provide important information and guidance on the correct ways to use and maintain hoists, lifts, and their accessories. Ian Somauroo, the owner of The Meadows Care Home in Ealing, stated “adhering to health and safety protocol was especially challenging in care environments, but services such as LOLER really do help”.
How to plan lifting operations effectively
When planning any lifting operations, risk assessment is key to identifying the most suitable equipment and method to perform the task. Lifting operations may be simple and commonplace, where all you require is minimal on-the-job planning by trained and competent people. However, they can also involve complex operations, which require detailed planning and higher levels of expert input and supervision. Therefore, the extent of the resources used to minimise risk should reflect the difficulty and complexity of the lifting operation. Because of this, all staff should know how to move, lift, and handle someone else safely.
What do you need to do to be compliant
Firstly, it is important that you are aware of LOLER and familiar with its main points and requirements. This means that all equipment must be safe and suitable for its purpose and any risks and hazards must be identified. Lifting equipment must be strong and stable enough to be used in care homes. It should also be positioned in a way that it minimises the risk of injury. Employers should also make operating instructions available to employees and ensure they are competent through a combination of training, technical knowledge, and experience.
What is the difference between LOLER And PUWER
LOLER is closely connected to PUWER, which stands for Provision And Use of Work Equipment Regulations. Both sets of regulations are crucial to the use of work equipment and as a result, care homes must understand and comply with both of them. Although both refer to equipment in the workplace, PUWER covers all pieces of equipment, used by employees. It indicates that all equipment must be fit for purpose, safe and secure for the user and staff using it. In comparison, LOLER refers only to lifting and handling equipment.
Are there any exceptions to LOLER
Not every equipment that is designed to load and lower a load or lift a person automatically applies to LOLER. In health and social care services, there are some notable exceptions worth mentioning. For example, if a member of the public who is a user of care services purchases equipment for use at home, this will not be defined as work equipment covered by LOLER. Also, in some cases equipment may be loaned by an employer for individuals to be used solely by themselves, unpaid carers, or family members.
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