19 Mar 2024

A guide to LOLER


What is LOLER?

LOLER stands for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (1998), and builds on the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). The aim is that all lifting operations conducted in the workplace are carried out safely, to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.

Does LOLER apply to me?

These regulations place duties on people and companies who own, operate, or have control over lifting equipment, lifting accessories, and items of loose gear. All businesses whose employees use lifting equipment, whether owned by them, are covered by the provisions. The requirement is for inspection and thorough examination of lifting equipment by a competent person, including cranes, forklift trucks, hoists, elevating platforms and attachments for fixing, anchoring, and supporting such as straps and chains. LOLER applies to every sector that uses lifting equipment, from factories, warehouses and offices, to shops hospitals, construction sites and farms.

What are the requirements under LOLER?

  • Strength and stability of the lifting equipment for its intended use.
  • Positioning and installation of the equipment to prevent injury.
  • Equipment marking with necessary information about safe use, maximum loads etc.
  • Organisation of lifting operations is safely planned, supervised, and carried out by competent people..
  • Thorough inspection and examination at required time intervals.
  • Defects and information records kept and appropriate action taken.

Failures of lifting equipment can result in dropped loads, people can be hit, body parts can be trapped all causing serious injuries and even fatalities. According to the HSE, almost 40,000 construction workers suffered long-term musculoskeletal disorders as a result of unsafe lifting operations and 111 people were killed in 2019/20 when operating mechanical equipment.

LOLER requires that lifting operations are planned by an individual who has completed LOLER training. Lifting operations must always be supervised in an appropriate manner, ensure the user is wearing the correct equipment, e.g., safety footwear, goggles, hardhat etc and performed by an employee who is able to complete the task safely, to prevent injuries and fatalities.

What you should do

If your organisation is involved with any lifting equipment, you must manage and control the appropriate risks of injury or damage. When undertaking lifting operations, you should:

  • Plan them properly.
  • Use people who are sufficiently competent.
  • Supervise them appropriately.
  • Ensure they are carried out in a safe manner.

When should thorough examinations be carried out?

In order to verify that lifting equipment and accessories remain safe for use, and to detect and remedy any deterioration in good time, thorough examinations are required throughout the lifetime of the equipment, including examinations:

  • Before use for the first time – unless the equipment has a Declaration of Conformity less than one year old and the equipment was not assembled on site. If it was assembled on site, it must be examined by a competent person to ensure that the assembly (eg a platform lift installed in a building) was completed correctly and safely.
  • After assembly and before use at each location – for equipment that requires assembly or installation before use, e.g. tower cranes.
  • Regularly, while in service – if the equipment is exposed to conditions that cause deterioration which is likely to result in dangerous situations. Most lifting equipment will be subject to wear and tear and so will need regular in-service examination. Some may be exposed to significant environmental conditions which may cause further deterioration. You have a choice:
    • arrange for thorough examination to be carried out at the intervals specified by LOLER (every 6 or 12 months, depending on the equipment – see below), or
    • Conduct examinations in accordance with an examination scheme, drawn up by a competent person.
  • Following exceptional circumstances – liable to jeopardise the safety of lifting equipment, which may include:
    • damage or failure
    • being out of use for long periods
    • major changes, which are likely to affect the equipment’s integrity (eg modifications, or replacement / repair of critical parts)

Where, following thorough examination or inspection of lifting equipment, a defect is identified – which in the opinion of the person undertaking the examination or inspection – is (or could become) a danger to people, you as user (employer or self-employed person) should be notified immediately. You must then take effective action to manage risk by ensuring the lifting equipment is not used until the defect is remedied. Such defects must be confirmed in writing in the report, even if it is remedied immediately (e.g. by destruction of a sling) (Source:HSE.)

The person making the report must also notify the relevant enforcing authority with a copy of the report. Enforcing authorities may follow up such reports to check that risks are being adequately managed.

What are the specified intervals for regular thorough examinations?

Unless there is an ‘examination scheme’ specifying other intervals, thorough examinations should be conducted every:

  • 6 months, for lifting equipment and any associated accessories used to lift people.
  • 6 months, for all lifting accessories.
  • 12 months, for all other lifting equipment.

Further details of what is covered during an inspection can be found here.

Thorough examinations and inspections of lifting equipment (hse.gov.uk)

What will the Health & Safety Inspector be checking?

The certificates of Statutory Examination and Testing are issued by the competent person such as specialist engineers.

The Health & Safety Inspector will check to see if you have relevant certificates of Statutory Examination and Testing; and that the correct procedures are being followed including correct training, use of competent persons, proper record keeping of inspections and reporting of all defects with actions.

Failure to comply with LOLER, not only puts your staff and others at risk but could also result in  enforcement action by the enforcing authority (HSE or local authority).

For more information

If you would like more information on LOLER or machinery inspections, risk assessments and compliance, please feel free to call us or complete our contact form here Contact Our Team on 01527833834 | Sentinel Safety Solutions Ltd

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