TAIL LIFTS – your duties as a USER and OPERATOR
If you are a company or self-employed person providing lifting equipment for use at work, or if you control lifting equipment, you must make sure the lifting equipment is safe. The requirements for you as a ‘duty holder’ can be found in the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
LOLER is also supported by the Safe use of lifting equipment: Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and additional free guidance from HSE. While the ACOP is not law, this has been produced under section 16 of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSW Act) and has a special status of the ACOP. This supports not only LOLER but also the general provisions of section 2 of the HSW Act and other regulations, including the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and PUWER, in relation to lifting equipment and lifting operations. Other more specific legislation may also apply, for example the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations , when safety harnesses are being used for rope access work during activities such as window cleaning.
What is lifting equipment?
‘Lifting equipment’ means work equipment for lifting and lowering loads. This includes lifting accessories and attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting the equipment (examples of lifting equipment). In case of road transportation we speak mostly about tail lifts.
Legal Requirements for Operators & Users
It is a Legal Requirement that any vehicle which has a Tail Lift installed, has it inspected and serviced regularly by a competent person. A “Competent person” must have an appropriate practical experience and technical knowledge, preferably trained by the manufacturer. This states that operators have a legal duty to have their equipment undertake a Statutory Thorough Examination (STE), and a Service every six months, and a Weight Test every twelve months. These examinations are often a requirement of the operators insurance, and any persons failing to undertake these actions could be liable to prosecution.
A person making a thorough examination for an employer should notify the employer of any defect in the lifting equipment which in his opinion is or could become a danger to persons and as soon as possible make a report of the examination in writing and present it to the employer and any person from whom the lifting equipment has been hired or leased and where there is in his opinion a defect in the lifting equipment involving an existing or imminent risk of serious personal injury send a copy of the report as soon as is practicable to the relevant enforcing authority (where the defective lifting equipment has been hired or leased by the employer, the Executive or the enforcing authority for the premises in which the defective lifting equipment was thoroughly examined).
Every employer who has been notified under paragraph should ensure that the lifting equipment is not used before the defect is rectified.
Any persons using the Tail Lift must be adequately trained in it’s safe use, and particularly in the case of a passenger or wheelchair lift, ensure that whenever practicable it is a two person operation. Manufacturers instructions must always be adhered to, and used as a specific reference point. It is the Operators duty to keep all relevant documentation and a record of examination and service with the equipment at all times.
Where an employer obtaining lifting equipment receives an EC declaration of conformity relating to it, he shall keep the declaration for so long as he operates the lifting equipment. The employer should also ensure that the information contained in every report made to him under regulation is kept available for inspection for a period of time specified for each case in the regulation.
- every employer and operator should make sure that:
- every lifting operation involving lifting equipment is properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.
- machinery and accessories for lifting loads are clearly marked to indicate their safe working loads and whether or not they are designed for lifting persons.
- that lifting equipment is positioned or installed in such a way as to reduce the risk of the lifting equipment or a load striking a person, drifting, falling freely or being released unintentionally and it is otherwise safe.