What are the Regulations Around Compliance for Care Facilities?
There are many Health and Safety regulations which care operators must abide by, and knowing what these legal requirements are is crucial to the safe running of your care facility.
LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, 1998)
The LOLER regulation relates to all lifting equipment, including mobile hoists, ceiling hoists and their accessories such as slings and scale attachments. You can read more about the LOLER regulations here: What is a LOLER Inspection?
The regulations ensure your equipment receives a 6 monthly inspection to judge whether it is safe to continue using or if any recommended or mandatory repair works need to be completed to keep it working.
Similar to an MOT, a LOLER inspection should be carried out between two dates, 6 months apart. So if a LOLER inspection is carried out on the 1st April, then the next inspection must be carried out before 1st October. The service sticker should state when the last inspection was carried out and when the next one is due, if there is no service sticker or the date is overdue – then your equipment is out of compliance.
PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998)
The PUWER regulation relates to all equipment used for work, including the lifting equipment which falls under LOLER. Other care equipment which comes under PUWER includes profiling beds, assisted bathing equipment, shower trolleys, couches and plinths.
Whilst LOLER is a visual inspection, PUWER covers a service and maintenance visit which ensures your equipment is maintained in an efficient state and in good repair. You can read more about PUWER here: What is an Annual Service for moving and handling equipment?
Like a LOLER inspection, a sticker should be visible on the equipment to show when it was last serviced. The frequency of service and maintenance visits under PUWER varies depending on the equipment and manufacturer’s recommendations but it is commonly every 12 months. If you don’t abide by this regulation, then your equipment is out of compliance.
Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014:
Since 2015, the CQC has had the enforcement responsibility for health and safety incidents under The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. The two regulations which are important for care equipment are the following:
Regulation 12: Safe care and treatment
This regulation intends to prevent people from receiving unsafe care and treatment and prevent avoidable harm or risk of harm. Providers must make sure that their premises and any equipment used are safe and where applicable, available in sufficient quantities.
12(2)e states you should have systems and processes that assure compliance with statutory requirements, national guidance and safety alerts. The CQC can prosecute for a breach of this regulation, or part of it.
Learn more about Regulation 12
Regulation 15: Premises and equipment
This regulation intends to make sure that the equipment that is used to deliver care and treatment is clean, suitable for the intended purpose, maintained, stored securely and used properly.
15(1)e states providers must make sure that they meet the requirements of relevant legislation so that premises and equipment are properly used and maintained. As well as have operational policies and procedures and maintenance budgets to maintain their equipment.
Learn more about Regulation 15
Satisfying CQC Inspections
One of the five questions that CQC ask during an inspection is: “Is it safe?” This relates to the home and any equipment they own, to make sure it’s well maintained. To satisfy this question, CQC will make sure you have the correct paperwork for your equipment including in date inspection reports and stickers on the equipment being used.
This is cited as a ‘reason for judgement’ on CQC’s inspection reports, such as in the example below:
Medaco offers our customers access to an online customer portal where their service and inspection reports are available to download whenever they need them.
Bed Rail Regulations
If you provide bed rails within your care facility, you also need to make sure you are compliant with the bed rail regulations BS EN Dimensional requirements (BS EN 60601-2-52:2010). Your service and maintenance provider should check this under their service and maintenance schedule for your profiling beds.