Thorough Examination & Testing of loader cranes
Confusion exists over requirements
for the testing of loader cranes,particularly the need for the four yearly overload test.The four yearly overload test was a legal requirement of the Construction and Use (Lifting)Regulations 1961, but these regulations wererepealed with the advent of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER)in 1998.
LOLER replaced the legal requirements for the four yearly overload test, with the annual Thorough Examination and Inspection, and made it the responsibility of the Competent Person, to determine if and when the overload test should be carried out, on the grounds that “the design of certain lifting equipment is such that damage maybe caused by conventional overload tests”.
Loader cranes do not fall into a category as witnessed by the fact that BS 7121 Part 2 has an entire section devoted to the testing of loader cranes.
Load testing is a requirement of ALLMI (Association of Lorry Loaders Manufacturers and Importers) and BS 7121 parts 2 and 4. The HSE regards BS 7121 as a most important source of advice, witnessed by the fact that it is referred to 8 times in the LOLER Approved Code of Practice and Guidance. Every competent loader crane examiner should be aware of BS 7121 parts 2 and 4, and if they are not aware of it, they are not “competent” as defined in the regulations.
BS 7121 “Code of Practice for safe use of cranes” is a recommendation. However, in the event of prosecution following an accident, the competent person would probably be questioned as to whether the requirements of BS 7121 parts 2 and 4 were applied during the Thorough Examination, and if not, what alternative standards were applied.
The failure of a competent person to satisfy the court that an acceptable standard was used during the Thorough Examination would probably result in the competent person being recorded as “incompetent”. LOLER requires lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined by a competent person:
- Before first use
- Following the repair or replacement of a structural component When a major change takes place
- When removed and refitted to the original chassis in accordance with the manufacturer’s scheme
- Periodic thorough examinations are also
- In the case of lifting equipment for lifting persons, or a lifting accessory (eg: slings,chains, grabs, buckets etc.) at least every 6 months
- In case of other lifting equipment, at least every 12 months