Arboricultural Association article.
In October 2011, a new 2 year Leonardo da Vinci project led by Billy Robb (A1 Arborists Ltd) and supported by 5 other European partners started. Thorough examination of lifting equipment is a legal requirement and part of the framework aimed at the prevention of accidents and fatalities in the workplace (Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998-LOLER). In brief, the project aims to: develop a common European approach to inspection of work at height equipment (with a focus on arborists) via the following key objectives:
- By undertaking a mapping exercise of inspection techniques used within a number of European countries
- Via analysis of a range of European accident & fatality statistics related to work at height & subsequent underlying reasons where known
- Through examination and development of possible non-destructive testing methods suitable for LOLER inspections
In relation to the last objective work is progressing well. From much of the information collected to date, when it comes to thorough examination of arborists equipment it is primarily a qualitative exercise which, depending upon the experience of the inspector is open to an element of subjectivity. This has potential to be improved through the addition of a quantifiable or more scientific approach via employing the use appropriate tools and techniques. This research aspect of the project will continue until the end of 2012 and will then be followed up with pilot tests early in 2013. Photo 1 shows a rope testing device being calibrated for use in elongation and diameter tests which are proportional to strength ratings. The figure of 8 seen in photo 2 has minor abrasion on the outer surface following a penetrant test indicated by the light red colour. Photo 3 shows equipment with a deep fracture associated with a darker red colour clearly visible. The darker the colour the more severe the resultant damage is.
The project partners hope to make considerable progress over the next few years and widely disseminate all the results via construction of a dedicated website and presentations as seen in photo 4. In the meantime, more information can be found on the following blog: http://lolerproject.blogspot.co.uk.