Specialist Patient Handling Equipment

How to ensure a successful hoist installation – Part 5 – Maintenance

Ceiling Hoists for Disabled

Patient hoist installations – Part 5 – Maintenance

When the work is done and your hoist is installed,; now it is important to consider what you need to do to protect your investment and ensure ongoing safety for the staff and users.

Firstly it is worth considering what your legal responsibilities are as an employer if the hoisting system is installed in your organisation. As a broad rule, the following legislation may be applicable to the provision and use of the equipment.

H&SWA – The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (also referred to as HSWA, the HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA) is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain

PUWER – Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is: suitable for the intended use. safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and does not subsequently deteriorate

LOLER – LOLER is an abbreviation of Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. It is often referred to as the LOLER regs or LOLER 98 regulations. The LOLER regulations came into force on 5 December 1998. This legislation has many clauses and provisions that effect hoisting, we will look at this in more detail later on.

MHOR – Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) (MHOR) The Regulations define manual handling as: “…any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force”. The load can be an object, person or animal.

Before any lifting equipment is used for the first time you will need to guarantee, with physical evidence, that the equipment has had a thorough examination and is safe to use. If you are unable to obtain this information, the equipment should not be used before being tested.

Periodic examinations are required if the lifting equipment is exposed to conditions which can cause deterioration or result in fatal/serious injury.

Read on for more details on LOLER.

What are LOLER regulations?

LOLER regulations (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Requirements, 1998) aim to ensure that all lifting equipment and lifting accessories in the workplace are used in a safe and appropriate manner.

The regulations state that all lifting equipment should have suitable strength and stability for its designed use. LOLER also states that the Safe Working Load (SWL) and maintenance dates must be clearly visible on the equipment and any faults are reported immediately.

LOLER is implemented to prevent the risk of injuries or fatalities which may occur from the use of lifting equipment within the care environment.

Thorough LOLER tests should be conducted at least every 6 months on all lifting equipment and any accessories used to lift persons. Accessories covers items such as slings, which are necessary to complete the lift. It is advised that daily routine checks are carried out before any lifting equipment is used. Any faults or defects should be reported immediately and the equipment should not be used until a specialist has conducted a thorough inspection.

Further information as to hoisting can be found following these links:    http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsis4.pdf      http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsis3.pdf  

Importance of routine servicing

A well planned routine servicing will actively prevent breakdowns, by assessing the condition and wear of essential components prior to them failing. By doing so and, replacing components prior to them failing, the inconvenience and risks of a breakdown are reduced.

Whilst everyday checks are important, a thorough service to the manufacturers specification will examine components that are located within the equipment, not normally visible. It is essential that this is carried out to detect wear and tear on moving parts.

Nobody wants an emergency situation in their establishment – this can lead to unsettling the staff and the users, possibly and incident which may have to be reported. A pro-active servicing regime will ensure that emergency incidents are voided, leading to greater confidence and increased usage by your staff.

What should a good service programme include?

A good service programme should include as a minimum a full service to the manufacturers specification. Remember that there are no legal qualifications required to carry out a service or a LOLER inspection, it simply has to be a ‘competent person’ All reputable manufacturers will carry out servicing training, so prior to signing a servicing contract, check that the providers and their staff have all had manufacturer’s training in the equipment that you have on site.

As stated above lifting equipment used for lifting person should be inspected at intervals no less than 6 months. Again this has to be done by a ‘competent person’. The manufacturers service will often include all of the points that are covered in the LOLER inspection, however ensure that a LOLER inspection is included as part of the service.

Following the service/LOLER inspection, you should receive a report of inspection. This is a legal document, that should state the type of inspection, results of the inspection and any recommendations for further work. These can be emailed or delivered via post – ensure that you act on the recommendations and keep the paperwork in a safe place for inspection purposes. If you are embracing the digital age, many providers will also provide an online portal for you to access you documents and certificates  at any time  that is convenient to you.

Any report should include recommendations for further work with identification of parts needed to be replaced and justification. Again with the advances in modern technology this can be backed up by photos as evidence.

In summary don’t overlook maintenance programmes – they are an essential part of a successful hoist installation, and managed correctly will ensure that your hoist works safely and reliably for many years.

Contact us today

Call us today for more information as to hoist maintenance or LOLER testing on 0800 298 6000 or email us sales@multicaremedical.co.uk.

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