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No matter what the industry, if part of the operational process includes moving any heavy objects using lifting equipment, a whole new set of health and safety at work rules kick in. As if that’s not enough, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) also come into play. All designed to minimise the possibility of injury to employees and others, and ensure the lifting equipment to be used is the correct type, operated correctly, and in good working order. The following are the four basic requirements needed to ensure you pick the right construction lifting equipment for the job at hand.
How much weight is to be lifted
When choosing the type of lifting equipment, the total weight to be lifted, plus the weight of accessories used (strops, slings etc.), is the singularly most important calculation required to ensure the lifts can be carried out in an efficient and safe manner.
Whether lifting a bale of cotton, or an engine block, somewhere the weight of the item should be displayed. Likewise, all equipment used for lifting, including slings, should be stamped with their maximum working load limit (WLL). If they aren’t, find a set that is. With weight calculations completed, add a little extra. Better to be safe than sorry.
When it comes to specialist manufacturing processes, the environment too can influence your choice of lifting accessories. If you envisage lifting sheets of glass, plastic, or other materials using vacuum lifting equipment, a careful check needs to be kept on temperature and moisture levels, to ensure they stay within the equipment’s operating parameters.
Choosing the right construction lifting equipment for the job
It may sound a little obvious, but not necessarily. For instance, now you know the weight of what you want to lift, have you thought of how you want to lift it? Do you want portable lifting equipment such as powered or manual chain hoists or winches or would lifting equipment that can be moved around on wheels or tracks be more suitable? If a variety of different lifts are to be undertaken in different areas, you could consider mobile lifting equipment. Or portable lifting equipment which can be easily moved manually from place to place. Don’t forget the different accessories that go with it, to make it suitable for the various lifting tasks to be undertaken.
Forget about the cost – for now.
Sounds a little extravagant doesn’t it, but the truth of the matter is if you’re concerned about cost from the get-go, you’re probably better off hiring. Make a list as above of what items or materials require lifting, the weights, materials, shapes, distance and height. Then contact a local construction lifting equipment hire/retail supplier, such as Universal Lifting Hire Services.
They will suggest the best equipment and accessories such as different types of lifting slings and shackles suitable for lifting different materials. For instance, wire-rope or chain slings will probably be unsuitable for lifting machined or cast metal pieces due to the risk of damage or slippage.
Hire or buy?
If the lifting equipment you’re interested in is to be used on a daily basis, then an outright purchase may be the most cost-effective choice. But, be sure to consider all your options. Purchasing second-user, top of the range lifting equipment, may well be more economical long term than purchasing a new, but an inferior piece of kit.
When working out the cost, durability needs to be factored in. Every piece of construction lifting equipment falls under LOLER legislation, with stiff penalties should accidents occur due to incorrect use of the lifting equipment or accessories, or if the equipment is found to be worn or faulty.
LOLER regulations require that regular safety inspections of the lifting equipment and accessories are carried out. Regular, being dependent on the type of equipment and frequency of use. As with everything in today’s world, you get what you pay for. While one piece of mobile lifting equipment appears to operate as well as another, more frequent maintenance is often required to keep them up to scratch, and parts require replacing faster than their more expensive counterparts. Within a short space of time, the savings made on the initial purchase, are being eaten up by the more frequent costs of operational downtime, extra servicing, and replacement parts.
Then there’s the hire factor. If the lifting equipment is to be used on an irregular basis, is it really worth taking on all the extra responsibility of inspections and maintenance required to keep the law happy, and your employees safe? Universal Lifting Hire Services have years of specialist knowledge in all areas of workshop lifting equipment. All of their lifting equipment, whether to hire or buy, is fully LOLER maintained and inspected. They will happily go through your needs with you, demonstrate the equipment, and cost out whether new, second-user or hire, will be the most cost-effective way forward for your particular needs.