What could happen if you don't inspect your equipment?
There are a vast amount of defects that are not easily detected by untrained personnel. Even for an experienced lifting equipment inspection professional, it takes constant refresher training to stay at the sharp end of this specialist field; that’s why repeat training is now a requirement within Australian Standards.
If equipment is not inspected properly and thoroughly, the ramifications could be costly and even lead to a fatality. Despite the consequences, lifting equipment inspection can often be overlooked or seen as an unnecessary cost to a client or project, especially when budgets are tight. In some cases, a user might feel that the costs outweigh the perceived benefits, but that mindset can typically be attributed to poor service or a lack of understanding about the importance of inspections.
The working environment around lifting equipment should be treated the same as any workplace; it must be safe. Not inspecting lifting equipment can lead to damage that has knock-on consequences for the site or facility. As is the case with any piece of plant or an asset, people can be put in harm’s way if lifting equipment isn’t properly inspected and maintained.
SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH
The industry understands the catastrophe that can be caused by a crane accident or failure—they often make national news—but we must continue to spread knowledge and education about the similarly disastrous consequences associated with rigging-related incidents and dropped loads. All accidents, regardless of the machine, component or personnel at fault, should be reported.
DAMAGE TO ASSETS
Rigging gear is typically applied to pick up or secure heavy and expensive loads. If it fails, the outcome can be disastrous on a multitude of levels. Further, if a section of wire rope, for example, is frayed it can scratch or get snagged upon the asset.
If a company decides to inspect its own equipment, they may not be covered by insurance policies if the insurer is not notified. In many cases, professional indemnity cover doesn’t exist either. Getting the proper insurances in place to cover in-house inspection can be expensive and outweigh any perceived saving versus outsourcing.
FINES AND JAIL TIME
If a decision, action or inaction of an individual, team or company leads to the injury or death of a person or persons, blame can be attributed by the courts and punishments issued. We’re not setting out to advise you on legalities, but it’s worth being mindful of the consequences of bad practice.
Inspections must be completed by a competent person. But what does that mean?
The new standards define a competent person as ‘a person who has, through a combination of training, education and experience, acquired knowledge and skills enabling that person to correctly perform a specific task‘. But not only do you have to demonstrate that your staff are competent, documentation of competency standards and procedures must also be maintained.