Lifting Guide & LOLER Legislation
General inspection requirements
This guide provides information about the legal requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) which came into force on 5 December 1998.
It gives a general indication of some of the main requirements of the regulations. However, it is important that you refer to the regulations and accompanying Approved Code of Practice to familiarize yourself fully with your duties.
What is LOLER?
In the main, LOLER replaced existing legal requirements relating to the use of lifting equipment, for example the Construction (Lifting Operations) Regulations 1961, the Docks Regulations 1988 and the Lifting Plant and Equipment (Records of Test and Examination, etc) Regulations 1992. Many aspects of LOLER should therefore be familiar to you.
The Regulations aim to reduce risks to people’s health and safety equipment provided for use at work. In addition to the requirements of LOLER, lifting equipment is also subject to the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
What does LOLER require?
Generally the Regulations require that lifting equipment provided for use at work is:
Strong and stable enough for the particular use and marked to indicate safe working loads.
Positioned and installed to minimize any risks.
Used safely, i.e. the work is planned, organized and performed by competent people; subject to ongoing thorough examination and, where appropriate, inspection by competent people.
What Equipment is covered by the Regulations?
Lifting equipment includes any equipment used at work for lifting or lowering loads, including attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. The Regulations cover a wide range of equipment including cranes, fork-lift trucks, lifts, hoists, mobile elevating work platforms, and vehicle inspection platform hoists. The definition also includes lifting accessories such as chains, slings, eyebolts, etc. LOLER, does not apply to escalators, these are covered by more specific legislation, i.e. the work place (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
If you allow employees to provide their own lifting equipment, then this too is covered by the regulations.
Do the Regulations apply to me?
If you are an employer or self-employed person providing lifting equipment for use at work, or you have control of the use of lifting equipment, then the Regulations will apply to you. They do not apply if you provide equipment to be used primarily by members of the public, for example lifts in a shopping centre. However, such circumstances are covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act).
While your employees do not have duties under LOLER, they do have general duties under the HSW Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (MHSWR), for example to to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions and to co-operate with others.
The Regulations cover places where the HSW Act applies – these include factories, offshore installations, agricultural premises, offices, shops, hospitals, hotels, places of entertainments etc.
What do the Regulations require me to do?
You need to ensure that in using any lifting equipment the requirements of LOLER are met.
Sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for the proposed use. Similarly, the load and anything attached (e.g. timber pallets, lifting points) must be suitable.
Positioned or installed to prevent the risk of injury, e.g. from the equipment or the load falling or striking people.
Visibly marked with any appropriate information to be taken into account for its safe use, e.g. slings, clamps, etc. should be similarly marked.
Additionally, you must ensure that:
Lifting operations are planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner by people who are competent.
Where equipment is used for lifting people it is marked accordingly, and it should be safe for such a purpose, e.g. all necessary precautions have been taken to eliminate or reduce any risk.
Where appropriate, before lifting equipment (including accessories) is used for the first time, it is thoroughly examined. Lifting equipment may need to be thoroughly examined in use at periods specified in the regulations (i.e. at least six-monthly for accessories and equipment used for lifting people and, at a minimum, annually for all other equipment) or at intervals laid down in an examination scheme drawn up by a competent person. All examination work should be performed by a competent person; and
Following a thorough examination of inspection of any lifting equipment, a report is submitted by the competent person to the employer to take any appropriate action.