Temporary Suspended Platforms and the Law - LME and LMI Registration Explained

Discussion in 'Scaffolding, Formwork & Support Work' started by Neil Enslin, Jun 19, 2021.

  1. Neil Enslin

    Neil Enslin Moderator

    Temporary Suspended Platforms and the Law

    LME and LMI Registration explained

    Compliance to two sets of regulations and the COID Act are applicable to Temporary Suspended Platforms (TSP) namely “Driven Machinery Regulations 2015” and “Construction Regulations 2014”

    Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COID)

    Ensure that the TSP service provider company is registered in terms of the COID Act and that a current (up to date) copy of its “letter of good standing” is kept on file.


    Driven Machinery Regulations 2015 - Regulation 18 entitled “Lifting Machines, hand-powered lifting devices and lifting tackle” covers the traction hoists and related equipment. It specifies the requirement for testing, inspection and maintenance of these hoists and ancillary lifting equipment in sub-regulations 5 and 6.

    What is of critical importance is that the thorough examination and performance test of the equipment is carried out by a registered lifting machinery inspector (LMI) in the employ of a company registered with the Department of Employment and Labour as a Lifting Machinery Entity (LME). LME registration can be verified with the Department of Employment and Labour.

    LME requirements:

    All entities engaged in the inspection and testing of lifting machinery have to be registered with the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL).

    Q. What forms etc are required and what is the contact detail and postal address of DEL regarding any registration of persons and Companies as an LME

    A. The contact details for companies wanting to register with the DEL are listed below;

    Ask them for their latest forms, as they seem to change from time to time. Keep copies of your submitted forms and use registered mail so you can prove your application and date of application.

    Department of Employment and Labour

    Private Bag X117, Tshwane, 0001

    Fax 012 309 4151 Or

    Laboria House

    215 Schoeman Street

    Pretoria E-Mail: mohlakola.monyaki(at)labour.gov.za

    Lifting Machinery Inspector (LMI)

    The LMI is registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and the persons’ specialisation is shown on the letter of registration with ECSA. It should be for

    “Suspended Access Equipment” (SAE) and the registration with Department of Employment and Labour will indicate the scope of approval as “Suspended Access Platforms”.

    Note that if the scope of approval is for forklifts or cranes or such like then that company is not entitled to employ an LMI doing suspended access equipment inspections.

    The Employer or contractor making use of these platforms is responsible to ensure that only accredited persons in the employ of registered companies undertake the work.

    Thus, the contractor should insist on seeing and keeping on record a copy of the LMI’s letter of registration from ECSA (not just the printed certificate) and a copy of the Department of Employment and Labour’s certificate issued to the company that employs the LMI.

    Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)

    1st Floor, Waterview Corner Building

    2 Ernest Oppenheimer Avenue

    Bruma Lake Office Park, Bruma



    Email address: engineer(at)ecsa.co.za

    Contact Number: (0861) 225 555

    Construction Regulations 2014

    Regulation 17 entitled “Suspended platforms” covers inter alia, supervision and the necessary appointments, professional engineering / designer requirements, preparation and submission of operational documentation, quality and strength of materials being used, reaction forces and load implications for the structure on which these are to be used, PPE matters, safe working loads (rated loads, total mass loads) and markings, inspections, performance tests and even training requirements for the users of these platforms.

    Quite often the requirement of this regulation is ignored or misunderstood.

    The most probable cause for it being misquoted / misunderstood is due to the technical nature of the products that it covers. These units require significant electro-mechanical, structural and rigging knowledge and expertise. This expertise requirement is confirmed by the fact that there are 4 SABS safety standards directly created for this equipment.

    Two of these standards namely SANS10295 -1 and SANS10295-2 are currently subject to a review process to bring them in-line with current safety philosophies. The other two are due for revision within the near future, again due to their age: - circa 2000. Albeit dated, these standards (SANS51808 and SANS1903) are still applicable.

    Basic safety features on the Temporary Suspended Platform

    OHS practitioners might find the following synoptic description and sketches helpful in understanding some of the more important and visually verifiable issues. Refer to Figure 1 below. It describes a typical suspended platform in common use on many buildings be it construction sites or existing buildings where façade maintenance / window cleaning or exterior painting is undertaken. The sketch shows:

    • Hoists – these can be either electrically powered or manually powered but must be purpose-built for “man-riding equipment” – i.e. you cannot use chain blocks. Rope & tackle or industrial hauling machines (wire rope pullers) or material hoists. The hoist is fitted with an integral brake that is designed to stop and hold the full load under normal operation conditions. These brakes will also activate under a “no-power” condition. The design of the hoists is such that under a “no-power” condition the platform can be lowered manually by pulling on the brake release lever. The machine will lower the platform at a controlled speed quite safely.
    • Secondary safety brakes / fall arrest devices. These are also purpose built and must operate on separate, independent steel wire ropes of the same size and construction as those used by the traction hoists. These safety ropes are in the main, unloaded for the duration of their use on the platform and only come into use under emergency situations. The safety devices (overspeed brake or fall arrest brake) are quite sensitive to acceleration. This is in the nature of the device. It needs to activate quite quickly in the event of the hoist not working properly to prevent the platform from falling. Special training for the operators / platform users is required to discern between inadvertent tripping and actual, necessary activation of the device. Visual / pictorial operating instructions must be supplied with each platform.
    • Overload detection devices. These devices measure the loads in the hoist ropes and will activate in the event of an overload. When activated, the hoist to which the device is attached will stop operating, thus preventing it from trying to lift a load greater than what the system is designed to lift safely. Obviously, such devices are not fitted to manually powered winches. On some machines, the load sensing device is built into the enclosure of the hoist and on others the device is mounted below the hoist however - on all electrically powered platforms these devices are mandatory.
    • Rated load plate. This plate is normally fixed to the kickboard and must show the number of persons plus equipment / materials that can be carried and must also show the maximum mass load aka “Rated Load”. The supplier’s name and contact number should also be clearly displayed. Note - If the platform is rated for three operators then there must be at least three PPE anchor points identified on the platform.




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