Lifting tackle, also referred to as loose lifting gear, must be inspected at regular intervals to ensure safety in the work place, as well as for the user to be legally compliant. Additional legal requirements are proper sling and component trace able markings, correct certification, keeping of proper records as well as storage. It is also a legal requirement to only use lifting tackle that conforms to acceptable quality standards such as SANS, DIN, EN or other ISO aligned standards.
The OHS Act lifting equipment requirements are specified in DMR 18. Inspection requirements are covered in DMR 18.10 (e), which specifies visual inspections of lifting tackle in use at regular intervals not exceeding three- month periods. Although the lifting equipment regulations of the MH&S Act do not specify inspections parameters, it is up to mine management to include these requirements in their written operating procedures and implement accordingly. Some users inspect monthly or even weekly, but three months is the accepted norm, not only for lifting tackle but also for hoists, including chain blocks, lever hoists and electric or air hoists.
How to inspect?
Inspections must be conducted in accordance with maintenance schedules and procedures. The results of these inspections must be recorded properly in an inspection register or file, which needs to be kept on the users premises, and available for scrutiny by auditors or other interested parties. These registers must contain proper checklists that specify what the inspector must look for on each separate item of lifting tackle that he inspects. It is not good enough to simply put a tick mark or cross on a checklist or, simply state “suitable for use, or not”, on a generic checklist.
Apart from the inspection register, the user also needs to have an up to date inventory of all lifting tackle on site, as well as ‘certificates of test’ or ‘certificates of conformance,’ for each item in use.
Who does the Inspection?
Firstly, lifting tackle does not have to be inspected by a registered LMI, but can be inspected by a contracted service provider, normally a supplier, or an in house appointed Inspector. This person is referred to as the LTI, and should be appointed by management in writing. His appointment should be based on his experience, skills and knowledge of lifting tackle inspection requirements. It must be stressed that lifting tackle must never be load tested once it has been put into use. This practice is illegal, as the user is not allowed to subject lifting tackle to a load in excess of the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer’s) stated WLL.
Therefore load testing a sling in use not permitted and serves no purpose if one considers the applicable factors of safety, which varies from 4:1 for alloy chain, to 7:1 for webbing slings. Lastly, if service provider’s LTIs are used, their appointments, from the service provider, should also be scrutinized.
Phakamisa Safety Consultants conduct on site LTI courses for existing or potential Inspectors. Each candidate receives a comprehensive training Manual as well as an Inspection Register to enable him to inspect and record the results of the three monthly inspections. The one day, unique and comprehensive course is validated by ECSA, for CPD as well. Candidates write a test after each module, and on successful completion of the test, they are then appointed by their management to inspect their own lifting tackle, providing the person also has lifting tackle experience and other required skills.