Periodic inspection of a patient lift
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Does a patient lift have to be periodically inspected by an External Service for Technical Inspections (ESTI) in accordance with Articles 280 and 281 of the General Labour Protection Rules?
A patient lift does not have to be periodically inspected by an ESTI in accordance with Articles 280 and 281 of the General Labour Protection Rules.
There are two types of patient lift:
- Devices comprising a system of rails attached to the ceiling and a lifting mechanism comparable to a loop, which can move along this rail system. The lifting mechanism is fitted with a device to support patients, directly attached to the suspension and therefore without a hook for lifting.
- Devices that are not attached to a loop but are independent and can be moved (rolled) on the ground.
A patient lift is considered a medical device in application of Directive 93/42/EC on medical devices marketed in the European Union. Appendix XIII of the Royal Decree of 18 March 1999 on medical devices, which transposes this Directive into Belgian law, also explicitly includes patient lifting devices. Directive 98/37/EC on machinery and Article 267.2.2 of the General Labour Protection Rules do not apply here.
By considering patient lifts as medical devices marketed in application of Directive 93/42/EC and not as lifting mechanisms in application of Machinery Directive 98/37/EC, this device does not have to be considered as a lifting mechanism in accordance with Article 267.2.2 of the General Labour Protection Rules. This also implies that the provisions of Articles 280 and 281 of the General Labour Protection Rules on ESTI inspections do not apply.
Patient lifts still fall under the definition of work equipment contained in Article I. 1-4, 24° of the Code on Well-being at Work.
Article IV.2-14 of the Code stipulates that:
- work equipment whose safety depends on the installation conditions must be checked initially, after installation and before commissioning, to ensure that this work equipment has been correctly installed and works properly.
- work equipment exposed to conditions that could lead to deteriorations that may cause dangerous situations must undergo periodical inspections and, where appropriate, periodical tests and exceptional inspections every time that exceptional events occur that could have had harmful consequences for the safety of the work equipment (an incident, for example).
The inspections mentioned above must be carried out by competent persons appointed by the employer. These persons may be internal (for example, the company technical service) or external to the company. Inspection bodies approved to inspect the lifting equipment are also competent persons within this meaning. The results of the inspections must always be submitted in writing and made available to the official responsible for monitoring.
- Firstly, with the prevention advisor of the internal and/or external service for prevention and protection at work.
- Secondly, with the competent regional directorate for Supervision of Well-being at Work.
- Questions on the interpretation of the legislation: in writing to the Directorate-General for Humanisation of Labour.