Safe lifting by machine
If you are an employer or a self-employed person providing lifting equipment for use at work, or if you have control of the use of lifting equipment, you must make sure it is safe.
Think about what risks there may be and how they can be managed, for example:
- damage or deterioration of the equipment caused by wet, abrasive or corrosive environments
- trying to move weights that are too heavy and exceed the load limit of the machine
- equipment failure
- untrained workers planning the lift or using the equipment
- people being struck by moving parts of the machinery or by things falling
Safe lifting needs to be properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out safely. Any equipment you use must have been properly designed, manufactured and tested. Don’t forget to maintain it properly too.
Factors you should consider
- What are you lifting?
- How heavy is it?
- Where is its centre of gravity?
- How will you attach it to the lifting machinery?
- Who is in control of the lift?
- What are the safe limits of the equipment?
- Could you rehearse the lift if necessary?
Dos and don’ts of lifting machinery safely
- use only certified lifting equipment, marked with its safe working load, which is not overdue for examination
- keep the reports of thorough examination as well as any declarations of conformity or test certificates
- make sure the load is properly attached to the lifting equipment. If necessary, securely bind the load to prevent it slipping or falling off
- before lifting an unbalanced load, find out its centre of gravity. Raise it a few inches off the ground and pause – there should be little harm if it drops
- use packaging to prevent sharp edges of the load from damaging slings and do not allow tackle to be damaged by being dropped, dragged from under loads or subjected to sudden loads
- when using jib cranes, make sure any indicators for safe loads are working properly and set correctly for the job and the way the machine is configured
- use outriggers where necessary
- when using multi-slings make sure the sling angle is taken into account
- have a responsible slinger or banksman and use a recognised signalling system
- use unsuitable equipment, eg makeshift, damaged, badly worn chains shortened with knots, kinked or twisted wire ropes, frayed or rotted fibre ropes
- exceed the safe working load of machinery or accessories like chains, slings and grabs. Remember that the load in the legs of a sling increases as the angle between the legs increases
- lift a load if you doubt its weight or the adequacy of the equipment
Find out more
The aim of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) is to ensure that work equipment is safe to use, regardless of its age, condition or origin.
PUWER places duties on employers and others who control how work equipment is used. This includes those who hire it out to be used by others.
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) apply to the safe use of lifting equipment.