How can you ensure a safe and reliable lift service?

As always, there are the mandatory requirements when owning or managing lift equipment…

Thorough Examinations (often mistakenly called Insurance Inspections)

Under LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998), all lifting equipment must be Thoroughly Examined at regular intervals by the “Competent Person” to ensure it is safe for the transportation of passengers and goods. This is commonly provided through a property’s engineering insurance policy provider; however, they are not the only persons recognised as “Competent” under the regulation.

The purpose of the regulation was to reduce the risk of injury from lifting equipment used at work; however, even though lifts are within residential demises, this should not exclude them from the regulation, as for many people (property managers, maintenance staff, delivery drivers, cleaners, etc.) the apartments are their place of work.

The regulation stated that all lifts provided for use with work activities should be Thoroughly Examined by a 'Competent Person' at regular intervals. Regulation 9 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations requires all employers to have their equipment Thoroughly Examined prior to it being put into service and after there has been any major alteration that could affect its operation. Owners or people responsible for the safe operation of a lift at work are known as 'duty holders' and have a responsibility to ensure that the lift has been Thoroughly Examined and is safe to use.

When in use, lifts should be Thoroughly Examined every six months, if at any time it has been used to carry people. Lifts only used to carry loads should be examined every 12 months. If any substantial or significant changes have been made to the equipment then this would also require an examination as would any change in operating condition which is likely to affect the integrity of the equipment.

Maintenance Contract

Whether the basic “oil and grease”, a mid-range intermediate or fully comprehensive form of contract, all lift equipment must be maintained at regular intervals, with the frequency and level of cover often determined by equipment type and budget.

It is always prudent to ensure you are obtaining best value from your contract and regular reviews will prevent continually increased premiums resulting in overpriced contracts. A good maintenance contractor will help prolong the lifespan of lift systems and ensure breakdowns are kept to a minimum.

…But at this time of the year there are other points to keep an eye on too, as the temperature drops and rainfall increases:

External Motor Rooms

Hydraulic lifts and traction machines have oil reservoirs which can be affected by temperature fluctuation. Ensure all heating and ventilation systems are working correctly to prevent potential failings of equipment and excessive wear to components.

Often cooler oil temperatures over the autumn and winter months result in oil viscosity (thickness) increasing, which impacts on the workload of the lift and can, in extreme circumstances, cause reliability issues. The same is true when oil becomes too thin and overheats, so it is worth checking the motor room thermostat to ensure the temperatures are kept between optimum levels. Some hydraulic equipment can have a narrow operational range (from 15-300C), far narrower than the 5-400C assumed within the EN81-20 standard.

Flat Roof Structures

After a prolonged warm spell, heavy rainfall to flat roof structures can lead to water ingress. Check areas below flat roof structures for signs of water ingress, which can in turn damage mechanical and electrical components if above a motor room or lift shaft.

Gareth Lomax is the Founding Director of Ardent Lift Consultants