Lift safety inspections are a requirement under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. If the worst happens, lift failure (or the breakdown of any mechanical equipment) can lead to unhappy residents. Emergency repairs can also be very expensive, meaning a sizeable deduction from the service charge budget. Alternatively, you can take steps to help protect you financially with engineering insurance for mechanical equipment such as lifts, boilers, sprinkler systems, and security lighting.
The law on safety inspections for lifts in flats
The regulations that apply are published by the Health and Safety Executive as the Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 – often abbreviated as LOLER.
They state that lifting equipment and any associated accessories used to lift people must be inspected by a competent person at least once every six months if they are used to transport people. They must be inspected once every twelve months if they only move loads. They must also indicate safe working load weight limits.
Engineering inspections for lifts
As part of the service offered by Gallagher, we can help arrange independent inspections through a third party and offer insurance to help with the costs of breakdowns.
These engineering and inspection service policies for a block can include other mechanical equipment in the building, such as boilers and window cleaning gantries. We can also arrange for PAT testing of any communal portable appliances such as emergency space heaters or lobby table lamps.
What to expect from an inspection
Tests should be performed on site by a qualified engineer or surveyor, who may also provide advice on maintenance and usage.
You will be issued with a ‘Certificate of Inspection’. Similar to an MOT for a car, this will also highlight any faults or defects that need fixing.
Anything considered dangerous may result in the plant being taken out of service until it is repaired.
What does engineering breakdown insurance cover?
As well as reminding you and arranging inspections by a competent person, such policies can cover accidental damage and mechanical breakdown. Accidental damage can include broken glass or unintentional faulty operation.
Mechanical breakdown is usually defined as sudden breakdown caused by a mechanical or electrical defect in the plant or breakage (fracture) of any part of the plant caused by mechanical or electrical defects, which must be repaired or replaced before the plant can be used again.
What is a competent person?
The LOLER regulations call for thorough examinations and inspections, requiring professional help. Inspections must be carried out by a competent person, and it is up to the duty holder to make sure that they are indeed competent.
There is no hard and fast definition of competency, but the inspectors should be sufficiently independent and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made. There are a number of people who can carry out the inspection including insurers (or their nominees), health and safety consultants, and specialist inspectors.
The LOLER regulations state: “You should ensure that the person carrying out a thorough examination has such appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined as will enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment.”
Insurers also take this into account when selecting engineers for examinations and inspections.
Duty holders can also benefit from keeping audits of inspections. It goes without saying that any defects must be addressed immediately, and the work recorded.
An inspection checklist for blocks of flats
This is a checklist of typical engineering plants located in a block of flats that you may need to have inspected:
- Electric gates and barriers
- Garage doors & roller shutters
- Plumbing and heating systems
- Fuse boxes
- Window cleaning pulleys
- Heat exchangers
- Back-up generators
- Air conditioning and ventilation units
- Disabled access systems
- Doors and intercoms
- Smoke alarms, fire hydrants and doors
- Lightening protection systems
- Pool/spa cover systems
- Security lighting
- Sprinkler systems
You can also see our guide to engineering insurance and inspection services for more information.
Insurance and services from Gallagher
We understand that cover and price are important to you, and we will search our panel of well-known insurers to help find you suitable protection. Connect with a specialist or call us on 0800 612 8631.