Do you know what lift information to look for when taking on a new building? Ensuring you obtain and retain the correct documentation is a legal requirement.
Taking over the management of a building can be a complicated administrative process. Ensuring that a complete and accurate record of all historical information is obtained is often difficult and time consuming, especially if the previous managing agents do not themselves have complete records. The presence of a lift within the building will add to the level of paperwork that needs to be collected. But what information is required in order to ensure that you comply with your statutory obligations? Below we will examine your responsibilities as a ‘Duty holder’ and determine the minimum level of information you should seek to hold on any lift within your portfolio.
Several court cases involving tragic lift accidents in the past few years have highlighted the need to ensure that an accurate record of key lift information is kept on file and available for inspection or review, if it is requested. The extent of that information is detailed within a number of regulations including the Lift Regulations 2015, The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998, and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998. Both two latter regulations are born out of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and it is under this regulation that many breaches will ultimately be prosecuted.
So, what do the regulations require?
Well let’s start at the beginning. The Lift Regulations state that before placing a lift in service, an installer must provide the owner with a declaration of conformity certificate, which certifies the lift’s compliance with the lift regulations. The installer is also obliged to provide an operations and maintenance manual, which provides:
‘instructions containing the plans and diagrams necessary for normal use and relating to maintenance, inspection, repair, periodic checks and the rescue operations’
Both items should be held for the duration of the time that a lift is under the management of the duty holder and should be passed on to any future owner or duty holder that may take over the role. LOLER too refers to the declaration of conformity, advising that it should be retained as proof of having been subject to a thorough examination prior to initial use.
Once in service there are several regulations that may apply to your lift, but the two that tend to be ever present are LOLER and PUWER. Both place obligations on the duty holder to ensure that the lift is:
‘maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair’ (PUWER)
And that their lifts are thoroughly examined:
‘in the case of lifting equipment for lifting persons or an accessory for lifting, at least every 6 months’ (LOLER)
Along with the requirement for regular maintenance and inspections, the regulations also require the duty holder to retain records of these maintenance and inspections for minimum specified periods or until their tenure as duty holder ends, when they should pass all records on to the next owner/duty holder.
Regulation 11 of LOLER requires that the information contained within the initial thorough examination report (taken as the declaration of conformity) be retained until the duty holder ceases to use the lifting equipment. In the case of ‘in service’ thorough examinations i.e. those inspections carried out every six months, normally by your insurance inspector, the regulation requires that the information is retained until the next report is made. Where immediate or timed defect reports are issued, these too are required to be retained until the next such report is made.
Interestingly, PUWER states that there is no requirement for you to keep a maintenance log. It does, however, require that routine inspections are undertaken on the lift and that a record is kept of these inspections. These inspections fall outside of the thorough examinations required under Regulation 9 of LOLER and the inference is therefore, that they would fall under the remit of someone other than a LOLER inspection, most likely the maintenance contractor. When combined with a requirement for routine maintenance, it makes sense that both maintenance and inspections are undertaken simultaneously and that a combined record is provided, detailing, as required by PUWER:
- the date the inspection was carried out
- who carried out the inspection
- any faults
- any action taken
- and to whom the faults have been reported
From time to time your LOLER inspector may call for additional testing of individual components on your lift. These are known as supplementary tests of in-service lifts and are carried out under the guidance of the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed), which promotes safety within the engineering industry. The tests are generally carried out on certain safety components or safety critical equipment on your lift, which cannot fully be examined, or their operation proven with just a visual inspection. Should your LOLER inspector call for a supplementary test, you can approach your lift maintenance contractor to complete the test or alternatively contact SAFed, who could advise you of an independent test body. Once the item has been successfully tested, a certificate will be issued, and this should be forwarded to the LOLER inspector and a copy retained within the inspection records of the lift.
Retaining a comprehensive record of your lift documents is essential to ensuring that you comply with your legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. There is no requirement as to how information should be stored, and the scanning of paper documents is completely acceptable.
If you have any concerns about the compliance of your documentation or would like to speak to someone about any aspect of your lift, why not call one of our team today on 01206 399555 and we will be happy to assist.