What are the top three lifting equipment accidents and how can we prevent them in 2018? Paul Forrester, Technical Manager for Lifting Equipment at British Engineering Services, discusses.

While the number of accidents and fatalities involving lifting equipment has decreased over the years, they do still happen, and this is often due to the fact that companies aren’t fully aware of their legal obligations under the LOLER regulations.

According to HSE statistics, certain sectors, such as construction, have actually seen an increase of fatal accidents over the past five years with 47 fatalities in 2015-/16 compared to 35 in 2014/15. The industries that follow in second and third place are agriculture and manufacturing.

In 2016/17, 28% of all fatal injuries to workers occurred due to falls from height, followed by 17% for those struck by a moving vehicle. When it comes to non-fatal injuries the statistics showed that 20% involved people that were injured while handling, lifting or carrying objects, followed by 18% of those that have slipped, tripped or fallen on the same level.

There is no reason for the number of those injuries and fatal accidents to

increase. With a well-prepared LOLER strategy in place and competent people managing lifting operations, accidents can be prevented and brought down to a minimum.


LIFT TRUCKS Accidents involving forklift and lift trucks still happen regularly. The things that most commonly go wrong tend to be when trucks run into people, when non-compliant or non-integrated cages are used or due to their improper use and lack of employees training.

To protect your company, you need to ensure that forklifts are properly segregated from other workers who could be hit and to make sure equipment is fit for purpose, properly maintained and that staff are properly trained. The LOLER regulations can guide you as you do this, but you also need to aim for a culture of safety within the workplace and quick response to stop unsafe practices taking root.


INVOLVING CRANES The most common crane accidents tend to occur due to the fact that lifting operations haven’t been planned properly. LOLER and the British Standard BS 7121 Safe Use of Cranes provide specific information on how to control the risks of planning a lifting operation, with the latter giving detail on basic lifts, standard lifts and complex lifts.

Factors that you might need to take into account include correct selection of the crane, appropriate lifting accessories, full briefing of all involved in the lifting operation and assessing the wind area of the load and wind speed limit.

ACCIDENTS INVOLVING LIFTS Lift safety is governed by the Lift Regulations and a number of supporting standards within the BS EN 81 series. Part of the problem is that many older lifts are still in operation and these design standards are not retrospective. However, the BS 81/80 standard considers the risks of older equipment and suggests ways you can work to update your installations.

In many cases problems with outdated lifts occur because the gap between the lift and the shaft is too wide, or the gap between the exterior and interior doors is too big. If you lifts don’t meet modern standards, now is the time to upgrade or replace them in order to ensure safety.

Avoiding accidents is often a case of thinking ahead and using common sense, but LOLER is an essential element in helping you ensure that safety procedures are not overlooked and you’re compliant with your regulatory obligations. Adhering to it will minimise the chances of injuries and/or fatalities on your site, as well as the risk of large fines due to non-compliance. 18

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