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Contaminated or damaged work at height equipment

Hazard Knowledge

Contaminated or damaged work at height equipment can present a significant hazard to operators relying on it to prevent injury caused by a fall.

Regulations require that a thorough examination of equipment and safety-critical parts is carried out by a competent person who must then complete a written report. For lifting equipment and any associated accessories used to lift people, this should be done:

  • Before first use
  • After assembly and before use at each location
  • Regularly, while in service (at minimum 6 monthly intervals)
  • Following exceptional circumstances

Contamination or damage will therefore normally occur when the equipment is being used or stored. Personnel must remain vigilant to anything that could present a risk to the integrity of the equipment and avoid putting it in a position that may cause contamination or damage.

Contamination may occur as a result of the location of the equipment, while damage is usually caused through misuse or exceeding working load limits.

Fire and rescue personnel should be aware at all times that they must try to preserve the equipment and that any damage or contamination must be reported.

If equipment is suspected of, or identified as, being compromised, it must be withdrawn, declared defective and managed under a strict quarantine procedure.

Equipment may be defective because of a known event or because of identified damage caused by use, misuse or poor storage. It may be that the equipment is contaminated and the substance and/or effects are unknown.

Quarantined equipment must undergo a thorough examination, where the competent person will decide whether the equipment can be reinstated or whether it should be permanently withdrawn and disposed of. Records must be amended to show the action taken.