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LOLER / PASMA inspectors near Oxford?


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Hi all,

 

Hope this is the right place for this question. I'll shortly be taking delivery of a custom access tower that has an in built pulley system for roping fixtures up through the tower. The tower will therefore need both an annual pasma inspections and a loler check. Does anyone know of any companies within 50 miles of Oxford that would be able to do both in one hit?

 

Thanks,

Dan

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I may be being daft (not unusual) but if it is a one-off item constructed to your own requirements can you not either do it yourself or get the supplier to do it if they can't train you up?

 

In a case like this it may turn out that you are the one real expert.

 

I did put this idea forward, but the college's H&S dept are insistent on having external suppliers come in to provide a third party view of our equipment and practices (at huge expense of course).

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The only people ""qualified"" to do an inspection like that would be the designer (basically you) or the manufacturer / supplier. Anyone else is going to be charging you for learning about your weird bit of kit and double checking / collating the specs on it for them to inspect it against.
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Just what I thought, Tom. How a H&S bod can ask for a third party inspection when Dan virtually wrote the relevant MI's is a mystery but the Jobsworth is everywhere.

 

As I hinted perhaps the maker of the kit can authorise Dan to issue certification on their behalf and split the moolah?

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The only people ""qualified"" to do an inspection like that would be the designer (basically you) or the manufacturer / supplier. Anyone else is going to be charging you for learning about your weird bit of kit and double checking / collating the specs on it for them to inspect it against.

 

Absolutely - and one would assume it has passed a design review and inspection before it was supplied. (But I heard a dafter story about design reviews recently - which I'd better not pass on here.) What is even more galling for Dan I suspect is that he did exactly the right thing to get the right solution to his access issues only to be faced with another hurdle.

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Depending on the nature of the equipment, respectfully, I disagree. If I have concerns about a structure, I engage a structural engineer to come and analyse the structure to tell me the load bearing capacity or if it is sound - they don't need to have been the architect or the designer of the structure to be able to do this.

 

Anyone competent and experienced to perform a LOLER and scaffolding inspection should be able to competently analyse the structure and provide a suitable report of it's condition to satisfy the requirements of that legislation. A couple of LOLER inspectors used toI work with did everything from flying irons and theatre safety curtains to oil rigs - the mechanical and structural implications of damage to an alloy tube acting as a vertical supporting member, or a fraying steel wire rope are applicable across applications of technology.

 

I would also expect any custom machinery to have as part of its design and delivery a comprehensive instruction manual that informs the user/client how to use it and ensure that is is safe. A significant part of the exercise of LOLER inspections is transfer of liability as much as it is a way of protecting workers from being forced to use battered kit as far as those paying for them are concerned!

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In theory John you are correct, in practice not so much, check this out for background.

As the "designer" of a one-off item Dan is the sole competent person under LOLER who has "appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment so that they can detect defects or weaknesses" but is also the ideal competent person who draws up the examination scheme, items and schedule. Not even the manufacturer could satisfy all the demands of LOLER as Dan can.

 

Anyhow, if anyone has the nerve to call up a structural engineer for a certification of an aluminium access tower I will pay a tenner for the recording of his response.

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Anyone competent and experienced to perform a LOLER and scaffolding inspection should be able to competently analyse the structure and provide a suitable report of it's condition to satisfy the requirements of that legislation.

yes but as I noted - the first they are going to do is contact the designer or manufacturer to find out the specifications, tolerances (and recommended inspection practices) etc so that they can work out what an appropriate inspection or testing protocol would be...

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Thanks all for the input and the sympathy! It is indeed frustrating that H&S will insist on carrying out checks that could be completed internally, and moreover, that it should come from my budget (a tower check alone is £325 + VAT and only covers the same ten minute check over that I do every week anyway) - believe it or not that's a substantial chunk of my annual running budget. But alas, such is the nature of educational theatre (and theatre in general I suppose), I'm very much at the mercy of the H&S elves.

 

For clarity, I did not design the tower as such; the structural and mechanical design was developed by Interlink Alloys Ltd in response to my criteria, so they have advised me on its usage parameters. We've not had to deal with LOLER rated equipment here in the past, so this is a new realm for me and so I'm more than happy to have this aspect covered by a professional engineer. Obviously the more cost effective route is to get me trained up to do so but once again, H&S and senior management here have very little faith in their own technical staff.

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To be fair to them the history of H&S in educational settings has developed through a number of cases of highly publicised complete reckless stupidity. After that twerp at Lands End in 1985 we had to risk assess all school trips - which we, to be honest, should probably have been doing before really. At that time pretty well all local authorities carried their own insurance risks not underwritten by any third party and they suddenly realised how things had changed after 1974 and with the easier access to negligence litigation and 36 years later we are where we are. To be honest I'd rather have things the way they are now than the way they were in 1975, even though it's added cost and time. Whether you should need this for a new piece of equipment though is a moot point I think.... Edited by Junior8
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Question: Who does your bars etc...? Can they not do this?

 

And it's kind of a weird one, if I refer you to the Work at Height Regulations 2005, it states:

 

(2) Every employer shall ensure that, where the safety of work equipment depends on how it is installed or assembled, it is not used after installation or assembly in any position unless it has been inspected in that position.

 

 

 

(4) Without prejudice to paragraph (2), every employer shall ensure that a working platform—

(a) used for construction work; and

(b) from which a person could fall 2 metres or more,

is not used in any position unless it has been inspected in that position or, in the case of a mobile working platform, inspected on the site, within the previous 7 days.

 

So... are you going to have an inspector come in every time you build it? Because if not - you're going to act as the inspector for fulfilling this requirement. What stops you being the inspector for other requirements?

 

I do sympathise too, though. The college probably have a generic safety policy which says that this sort of equipment needs inspecting every-so-often and they want a nice shiny certificate to show it's been done. It's not so much even about the inspection, it's just about the people feeling as though their backsides are sufficiently covered in the event that something goes wrong. Perhaps the easiest way to achieve this is for you to do a daily inspection of the tower (from a work at height perspective) and keep records to that effect; and then have an annual thorough examination of the equipment (from a lifting/LOLER perspective) carried out by a third party.

 

I could come and do it for you - I have family in Oxfordshire and could combine the two visits. I run a company with PII and PLI that will satisfy the college's needs. We can do the inspection together (rather than me charging for a second person), you can show me the system and how you use it, I'll look at all the things which (from my experience of inspecting similar equipment) might be prone to wear, degradation or failure... then stick a sticker on it and provide a report of thorough examination. This gives your people what they want. Keeps it simple. You stay involved. And for the daily work at height inspection, I could set you up with an interactive smartphone app to inspect all the things, take pictures of issues, create works tickets for repairs etc; and be able to export PDF reports of all such inspections to keep the bureaucrats happy. You just bash this out every time you use the tower, WAHR compliance is achieved, and if your people want certificates to that effect, the software will generate them for you...

 

As a further thought, have they supplied a pulley with the expectation you provide the rope, or have they provided a rope and pulley? For the purposes of simplified inspection, I would recommend that a rope stays with the pulley; and this is your lifting equipment. Of course, there's no reason you can't have multiple different ropes... but especially in the college environment, having multiple ropes for the same pulley leaves a lot more potential for the situation that you end up with students using a rope which is not an "approved" (ie right specification, in-date examination). Furthermore, if the rope stays on the pulley, the complete assembly can likely be considered lifting equipment and be inspected 12-monthly. If the ropes are removed and swapped with others, they would become lifting accessories and require a 6-monthly inspection.

 

(BR note - if this form of 'direct' advertising contravenes the rules... I'm just trying to be helpful... if an order arises from the post then a donation will be made to BR funds?).

 

As the "designer" of a one-off item

 

Dan is not the designer. The manufacturer is. Unless he literally sat and produced detailed engineering drawings and specified materials and welds to the nth degree, and supplied them to the engineering company for manufacture to that specification.

But more realistically, he told the company what he needed making. They made the calculations, they made the drawings, they identified the materials required. They are the designer.

 

There is nothing in LOLER which says that a bespoke piece of lifting equipment can only be inspected by its designer.

 

Thanks all for the input and the sympathy! It is indeed frustrating that H&S will insist on carrying out checks that could be completed internally, and moreover, that it should come from my budget (a tower check alone is £325 + VAT and only covers the same ten minute check over that I do every week anyway) - believe it or not that's a substantial chunk of my annual running budget. But alas, such is the nature of educational theatre (and theatre in general I suppose), I'm very much at the mercy of the H&S elves.

 

It is daft indeed. A lot of this pricing comes from the construction industry. It's like the ludicrous hire prices you see at Speedy and HSS, where tools cost as much to hire for a month as they do to buy. It's all down to big construction contracts, where high list prices are published and then substantial discounts are offered when things are hired in large quantities for long periods - because these hires require very little work from the hire company. But it leaves the casual customer out of pocket.

 

I'm very happy to try and combine this into a trip home - Abingdon is very close to home for me (Didcot!) - and make the price sensible so you can spend more of your budget doing things which really genuinely benefit the students on a day-to-day basis.

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