The landlord of the Marksman Pub in West Bromwich was fined £18,000 for failing to comply with health and safety legislation relating to the cellar hoist in the pub.  Inspectors discovered that the hoist had not been examined by a competent person and served an enforcement notice requiring that this was done.  When the landlord continued to fail to produce a safety certificate for the lift he was prosecuted.

Understand your obligations
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 apply to employers who provide lifting equipment for use at work, for example barrel lifts, manual hoists and slings in pubs and hotels. 

In a tenanted outlet the tenant, as employer, will be responsible because the lifting equipment is under his control. During any period when the property is empty, between tenants, the landlord will become responsible under the Regulations as the lifting equipment is under its control.  In practice this means that when the property is re-let it will be important to check that lifting equipment inspections are up to date and to agree whether the landlord will organise an inspection before the tenant arrives or whether the tenant needs to do this when it next falls due.

What the Regulations require
The Regulations require that lifts are sufficiently strong and suitable for their proposed use, positioned to prevent injury and marked with any necessary safety information.

They require that barrel lifts are examined in use every 6 months by a competent person who must then submit a report to the employer.  Other equipment such as manual hoists and slings should be inspected annually.  You must keep the report – amongst other things this will be your proof that the check was carried out.  Lifting equipment cannot be used again until any defects noted in the report have been remedied. 

A competent person needs to have the required level of knowledge of the equipment, defects and testing.  He must also be independent of the employer’s line management.  He is often the employee of an insurer but could be an in-house expert, if properly qualified, or an independent external consultant.

Further reading
The HSE Has published a guide entitled “Safe Use of Lifting Equipment. Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1988. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance”.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.