When you’re caring for individuals with limited mobility, specialist equipment such as patient hoists can be invaluable, but it’s vital to ensure that all equipment is properly maintained for the safety of both staff and residents.
Using lifting equipment such as electric patient hoists can put people at significant risk of injury. That’s why the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations were introduced in 1998. Often abbreviated to LOLER, these regulations place duties on employers to look after the well being of their staff, as well as those being lifted.
All lifting equipment will also be subject to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), so it is worth familiarising yourself with those too.
The LOLER regulations were created under the Health and Safety at Work Act, with the aim being to reduce the risk of injury from lifting equipment used in a work environment.
The regulations stipulate that all lifting operations must be carried out by a competent person who has been trained to do so. They also specify that any equipment used for lifting should be checked regularly to ensure it is fit for purpose. For any equipment which is used for lifting or lowering people, the equipment must be checked at least every six months to ensure it is in good working order. Equipment should also be clearly labelled with its lifting capacity, and maintenance records should be kept up to date.
The key to LOLER’s efficacy is the emphasis on planning before any lifting is carried out. This means ensuring that staff are fully trained on how to use lifting equipment safely, as well as making sure equipment is regularly tested and maintained.
It’s essential that staff are trained in the meaning and implications of LOLER. These regulations were put in place to protect staff and clients, and it is the employer’s legal responsibility to make sure they are enforced.
By law, LOLER inspections must be carried out at least every six months for any lifting equipment which is used to lift or lower people. The tests must be carried out by a competent person, usually an independent inspector. That person may specify a different time scale for checks to be carried out, depending on the requirements for a specific piece of equipment.
Essentially, any lifting equipment used in the workplace is covered by LOLER regulations. In a care home environment, this includes equipment such as electric and hydraulic patient hoists, as well as any accessories or attachments which are used for anchoring or fixing the equipment in place.
LOLER dictates that all lifting equipment should be installed in such a way as to minimise the risk of it falling, overturning or being released unintentionally. All equipment should be marked clearly with its maximum load and with any necessary operating information displayed. Any accessories must also be clearly marked to show anything that might affect their safe use.
The LOLER regulations also give guidance on how to prepare effectively for carrying out lifts. Good pre-lift planning involves assessing any foreseeable risks of the lifting taking place. For example, you should ensure that you have good visibility, that no hazards are close by and that you are not overloading the equipment. Have a look around the environment, make sure the area is safe for lifting and pre-check the lifting equipment before you start using it to carry a person.
We hope you’ve found our guide to LOLER regulations and testing useful. Here at Care Shop, we offer a wide range of patient lifting and handling equipment, including specialist bath hoists, lifting slings and slide sheets, so you can find everything you need to help every resident move around safely.