subject to damage and wear and tear each and every time they are used. Employers should therefore ensure that they are properly specified in the first place, and not neglected when it comes to periodic thorough examination.

5. Take into account the conditions

Anyone working in the subsea and offshore sectors will appreciate the impact that hostile operating conditions can have on a wide range of procedures. Lifting is no exception. Factors including the combination of salt water and air, extremes of temperature, and the additional dynamic loads imposed by the movement of vessels and/or installations can all have a detrimental effect on the integrity of lifting equipment. Reflecting this, LEEA produces a dedicated guide on the use of hand chain blocks and lever hoists offshore. Key recommendations include using equipment specifically designed for such conditions, and implementing a more frequent programme of thorough examinations.

6. Avoid over-reliance on thorough examination

Some employers rely too heavily on thorough examinations to ensure that

lifting equipment remains safe to use. Depending on the type of equipment involved, lOlER generally requires that thorough examinations take place every six or twelve months. However, as already mentioned, lifting equipment is often vulnerable to damage. Indeed some of it can even deteriorate whilst in storage. That’s why it is important to ensure that lifting equipment is also subject to regular inspections in the periods between scheduled thorough examinations. Generally these in-service inspections are relatively quick and simple procedures that can be done by the operator. However, it is vital that staff have the confidence and authority necessary to withdraw from service any equipment that gives cause for concern.

Clearly this is a far from comprehensive list, both in terms of the range of potential risks encountered and the detailed procedures needed to address them. However, for employers looking to ensure that they stay on the right side of the law and avoid the potentially catastrophic consequences of a lifting- related accident, help is usually within easy reach. This includes the official code of practice that accompanies lOlER, as well as lEEA’s own Code of Practice

for the Safe Use of Lifting Equipment (COPSULE) and the aforementioned guide to safe use of hand chain blocks and lever hoists offshore. It should also be pointed out that, to achieve full membership of lEEA, companies must pass a wide-ranging technical audit conducted by the association’s officers. And they are subject to further audits as long as they remain members. As a result, full lEEA membership provides independent verification of a commitment to professionalism –a commitment that should be reflected in the quality of advice such companies can offer end users of lifting equipment and related services.

Below: LEEA Code of Practice for the Safe Use of lifting Equipment Guide.

RUD Chains Ltd VRBG Heavy Duty Load Ring 10-50 Tonnes

Tradition in Dynamic Innovation

• VRBG Load Ring can be loaded 90° to the vertical with a full working load limit • Supplied with 4 bolts offering a working load capacity of 10-16 tonnes • Supplied with 6/8 bolts offering a working load capacity of 31.5 - 50 tonnes • Safety factor 4:1 in all load directions & min working load limit clearly marked • Suitable for heavy lifting, engineering, turbine lifting & steel structure assemblies

March 2017 | | p27

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