Every year, Zurich engineers inspect lifting equipment in thousands of buildings across the UK, from the Shard to the Houses of Parliament, to shops, pubs and factories.
Regular inspections are vital to ensure your customers’ equipment is safe and legally compliant. Here, we offer brokers a quick guide to what these inspections involve, and explain why Zurich is trusted to carry out more than 250,000 annually.
The law (LOLER - Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) requires that all passenger lifts must be thoroughly examined at least every six months, after any substantial and significant changes have been made and following “exceptional circumstances” such as damage, lift failure, long periods out of use or a major change in operating conditions – all of which are likely to affect the integrity of the equipment.
Carrying out regular inspections should not just be seen as a box-ticking exercise. In recent years, there have been a number of fatal accidents involving lifts, and occasions where firms have been prosecuted over lift malfunctions. John McMullen, Chief Engineer, Zurich Engineering, says: “Firms also have to consider the commercial impact of a lift malfunctioning. If a lift is out of action for a long period of time, it could have an impact on the business.”
Zurich Engineers undertake more than 250,000 lift inspections annually. John says: "When we visit a site we look at all the safety critical components. We examine various parts of the lift that could be subject to damage or particular concerns. Engineer Surveyors thoroughly examine the safety-critical components looking for signs of deterioration, to help manage risk and ensuring the lift is safe to use."
The buildings that Zurich’s engineers inspect include some of the tallest skyscrapers in Britain. Working 50 storeys high isn’t for everybody, so what does it take to be a good lift engineer? “Firstly, you have to be really interested in this kind of work, and secondly, you have to be fit, because it involves a lot of physical activity, climbing on top of lifts, up and down ladders etc,” says John.
Inspections of lifting equipment in the tallest buildings can take many hours, John says: "If we identify serious defects likely to cause harm to persons, for example, defective safety components such as overspeed governors, damaged lifting ropes or landing doors with inoperative safety edges, the law requires us to notify the customer immediately. We should inform them that the lift cannot be used until the defect is repaired and also advise the Health and Safety Executive."
If the defect does not pose an immediate threat to people’s safety, Zurich may advise the customer on action that should be taken within a certain time frame to remedy it. Regular maintenance in between inspections is vital to reduce the risk of faults occurring, says John. “Sometimes people see an inspection from Zurich as a ticket to operate for another six months, whereas they should be taking a proactive approach to maintenance. If equipment is properly maintained, we shouldn’t find anything.”
Zurich also offers a premium consultancy service, offering customers guidance on upgrades and replacement equipment. “We can help customers who want to bring their lifts up to the best possible standard. Our engineers can also offer advice on faults that are common in certain types of lift,” says John.
If your customers operate lifting equipment, regular inspections are a necessity – so why choose Zurich for this service? That’s pretty simple – we have a reputation for excellence that is built on more than 90 years of experience. Speak to your usual Zurich contact to find out more about how we can help your customers.
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