Medical & healthcare

Monitoring Lifting Equipment Inspection

by Douglas McCartney, RFID Systems

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998 requires lifting equipment for lifting persons, or accessories for lifting, to be thoroughly examined at least every six month or in accordance with an examination scheme. It is also a requirement to make a report of the thorough examination in writing that contains certain specific information.

Individual items of lifting equipment and accessories for lifting must be uniquely identified so a report to be written. In most cases, lifting equipment is provided with a unique serial number that is used on the report of through examination.

Patient slings which are accessories have not previously carried a serial number. The medical device regulation only required that a batch code was applied to the label on the sling. Slings that may have had a serial number on a label may have suffered deterioration during the washing process, or from heavy use, and the serial number may become illegible. In these cases it would not be possible to comply with the LOLER requirement for a treble system of thorough examination of slings.

In order to comply, a small Trovan transponder is inserted into the beading of a sling between the stitching close to a support strap. This transponder holds a unique serial number that is allocated to the sling and can be read with the use of a hand-held reader.

To aid identification of a sling fitted with this system, an optional yellow heat shrink identification tag is available that can be fitted to the support strap of a clip sling. For loop slings an optional white identification tags can be written on in permanent marker to show the previous and next examination dates.