Where does Health and Safety Start?

by Elizabeth Withington 19/01/2016 filed under Equipment


“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort” John Ruskin


The first priority on any site is Health and Safety.  So where does Health and Safety start?  At the site gate, at the site induction, at the project planning stage or when choosing a competent contractor?  Of course, it is all of these and many other considerations.  But how would you choose a competent ground investigation contractor?  Do you choose the cheapest because “all contractors are the same”, or do you check that they comply with the appropriate rules and regulations for the industry? Complying with these rules and regulations may not be the most visible of their activities, but they are essential to provide a safe, reliable, legally compliant service to your site, so that you the Client, or you the Consultant, can receive the quality data that you require to reduce your risk.


Compliance with LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) is an essential requirement for ground investigation contractors.  The regulations place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment.  So what is a “lifting” operation?  The regulations define a lifting operation as “an operation concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load.  A “load” being the items lifted and includes people. So what is “lifting equipment”?  Lifting equipment is work equipment for lifting or lowering loads and includes lifting accessories and attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting equipment.


For a ground investigation contractor the lifting equipment includes:


The rig

The rig winch

The rig chains

The forklift truck


Similarly the lifting accessories includes:


The SPT hammer

Bow shackles

D Shackles



Winch cables

Lifting eye



All of this equipment should be subject to a “thorough examination” and clearly marked with its Safe Working Load (SWL).  The thorough examination should be carried out by a competent person at a frequency depending on the type of equipment and the purpose to which it is used.  Typically in the case of lifting equipment this is on first use and 12 month intervals, and for lifting accessories this is on first use and then every 6 months.  The clear marking of the SWL is also a requirement of the regulations, the SWL being the maximum load the equipment can safely lift. 


At Geotechnical Engineering Limited we use an external supplier, sourced through our “approved supplier” system to test all of our lifting equipment and accessories.  Certificates are produced for each individual item of equipment, and each item clearly colour coded to show that it is compliant.  Our current colour is green, this will be replaced in 6 months with another clearly identifiable colour.

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