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I am going to be cheeky and put two questions in one topic but never mind! I have searched through previous topics of which several touch upon the subject but none seem to actually answer the question.


1. I think most technicians would agree that a fixed lighting bar ( ignoring flown bars or ground supported etc) should have a marked SWL although it is not that uncommon to come across older installations that still don't. Does anyone know of an actual regulation or otherwise that says fixed bars must be worked with a SWL on a new installation.


2. Again I think there would be general agreement on the use of safeties on lights. Is there an actual regulation or otherwise that says you must use an appropriate safety that is marked with a SWL in new cases.


Playing devils advocate in both cases what would be wrong with screwing a bar into a couple of joists and hanging the lights and wrap a length of local diy shop chain around the light. (I am not in any way advocating this or suggesting it but technically the bar is up with lights hanging with safeties).


One possible suggestion to my own questions is obviously LOLER but on a fixed bar does this apply as it is not part of a lifting operation as it is a fixed suspension.

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I think you need to look at The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998


Regulation 4 . Suitability of work equipment


Regulation 10 . Conformity and Community Requirements


Regulation 12 . Protection against specific hazards .


Basically you have to be certain that any equipment is suitable for purpose and unless you know the SWL how can you be certain you are not over loading it ? Just because there is no SWL marked I believe that you have to show that you are working within an SWL based upon the best information available . If your bars are so old that they were installed prior to the current set of regulations and have no marked SWL then youhave to base an estimated SWL on what information you have or can find .


E.G. If the bars are made from 50mm dia alu tube with 6mm wall thickness then there will be basic loading information availabe from a manufacturer of a similar product and maybe a stockholder . However you must build in a suitable safety margin because your bars may not be the same alloy .


You might also like to check out The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992

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Totally agree with what you are saying and I would agree that both the regulations quoted would potentially apply but as far as I am aware neither of them say something along the lines of "a newly installed lighting bar must have a marked SWL" or " a lantern safety must have a marked SWL". That is the sort of thing I am after if it exists. Obviously all parties have a duty of care both to themselves and to other people but is there anything concrete to say a new bar should have a marked load by the installer or can they just fix it up and then say the duty of care rests with the user not to overload it-what is overloading on an unmarked bar?


In case you are wondering I am being asked to look at a venue that has had some work done (not by a company within the industry) because the venue users have some concerns. Obviously I can say the bar should have a SWL but I am trying to find relevent specific regs to say why and identify exactly where responsibilities begin and end (does responsibility ever end :** laughs out loud **: ). Likewise is there anything to say there is something wrong with the length of chain wrapped round the lights-it's still got a chain on hasn't it!!

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Having spent part of the night thinking about this scenario I have a suspicion that LOLER applies . The bar is supporting a suspended load and just because it is fixed in place doesn't mean it is not 'lifting' a load in the eyes of the regulaions . Also LOLER applies to all accessories such as eyebolts, chains , slings etc . So therefore all that equipment must be 'strong and stable enough for the particular use and marked to indicate safe working loads' .





Note to self : Must get a life or a girlfriend !

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Again I tend to agree with you but again playing devils advocate you could argue the bar is fixed as is the joist it is fixed to. Should the joist therefore using the same argument have a SWL and extending that slightly further every part of a building should be marked with a SWL (and yes I know you are now moving into the realms of what you use a structural engineer for)


Mal421-I am grateful for your input but I must agree what a sad life if you spend the night thinking about this :** laughs out loud **: :o

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There are no Regulations or Laws which say 'your bars shall be marked with an SWL'.


To take your scenario above...


The building has been designed and built to a given specification with appropriate safety factors in the selection of materials. It works if you leave it alone. Now, you come along and get a bar fixed to the building and get that bar marked with an SWL. That figure is not the figure just for the bar but for the whole system. It's saying to you that if you load that bar up to its SWL then the bar and building are able to cope with the added load. The joists do not need to be marked with a SWL because you do not add any additional loads to them.


However, there are lots of laws which say that you must provide safe working places etc etc.


One way of doing this might be to mark your bars with an SWL.


The important thing here is that whilst the Law might not say how to do things there are plenty of examples of best practice which you should follow.




for their risk assessment...


Hazard = collapse of bar caused by excess loading.

Persons Affected = public, staff

Control Measure = Mark bar with SWL.

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Let's just analyse the purpose of SWL markings in relation to the OHS Regulation.

The regulation wants you to assess the risks associated with hanging stuff of a bar. To do this you need two bits of information: how much does the stuff weigh and how much can the bar hold. Enter Safe Working Load marking to make your life easier.

Basic sample: Stuff = 100kg - SWL = 200kg => Safe to hang the stuff, move to next risk. Same sample Stuff = 100kg, SWL = 50kg => Not good, will need other solution. Very simple, anyone can work out if it is safe to use the bar for the intended purpose.

Same sample, no SWL: How do you work out if you can use the bar safely? If you are a competent person you may look at the type of bar, how it is attached, what it is attached to and then make a guess if it is safe - not a practise I would advocate. Or you get a structural engineer to work out for you what the specific bar can hold, a lenghty and expensive exercise but the only one to comply with the OHS regulation.


What is the point of this rant? SWL is a tool to help you with the risk assessment, nothing more. It shows that someone has done the calcs and signed a report that supports that claim.

As far as I know there are no requirements to mark SWL on any installation, new or old, if the owner/builder/user doesn't want to spend the money on an engineer.

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I've been pondering this same question in relation to the school hall I look after. God knows when the original bars were installed- presumably when the school was built (1960s). And a teacher who was interested in lights got wall brackets installed with space for four lights at some point. It all looks sturdy enough and presumably there are specifications somehere.


In our case, and probably also that of many other schools, the facts that the bars are short with few power points, we don't have much equipment, and nothing heavier than a Strand #264 (7.5kg), helps.


In the end the apparatus has to be suitable to its purpose and its operator responsible for safety. I'd be mortified if I caused death or injury by equipment falling because of something I'd done or not done. If you are uncertain as to the load you can safely apply to a structure then the options are surely either to get it assessed by competent engineers or treat it with respect by staying within your own assessment for what is right.

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