The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) were created with the aim of establishing a safer workplace for everyone using, or coming into contact with, lifting equipment, such as employers, their employees and contractors. The term ‘lifting equipment’ describes any equipment that is used for lifting and lowering loads, including lifting accessories used for fixing or anchoring. The term is applicable to any sector that uses this kind of equipment.

Employers and companies have a duty to ensure that all lifting equipment is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task it is performing, suitably & safely marked and subject to thorough inspection at appropriate intervals. These vary depending on the type of lifting equipment, which can be tricky to remember when a company manages a lot of tools and appliances. However, LOLER checks are absolutely essential and you must have an efficient system in place that allows for them to run smoothly and safely.

By adhering to LOLER and ensuring that inspections are done properly, you can be assured that the equipment you are providing or using is fully compliant and safe.

Why is it crucial to have LOLER inspections completed?

Following the introduction of LOLER, according to a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Incident Review conducted across a period of five years, of the 4,624 incidents reported to them during the study period (1st April 1998 to 31st March 2003), 861 incidents were identified as occurring during lifting operations.

Due to statistics like those above, it is vital that LOLER inspections are completed in order to ensure that lifting equipment is always up to a high safety standard. As an employer, employee safety and avoiding serious injuries should be of the highest priority. However, there are further complications that can arise out of not completing LOLER inspections that can not only affect employees, but your business.

In recent years, the implications of not having LOLER inspections completed has shifted from harm caused, to potential risk of injury. This means that even if no one is injured using non-compliant equipment, your company will face serious consequences. These usually include (but aren’t limited to) a substantial fine. Fines as a whole have increased under the newer, stricter regime that is less lenient with companies who fail to comply. This should send a serious warning to companies that failing to comply with LOLER in any way could result in a fine that the majority of businesses would struggle to afford.

Luckily, there are ways to ensure that this doesn’t happen. When carrying out LOLER
inspections, there are a number of obligations you need to make sure are followed:

● Do your own checks

Ensure that simple pre-use checks are done on lifting equipment. By including this into
your routine, you can ensure full compliance and safety.

● Comply with legal requirements

Ensure that inspections and checks are done on a regular basis (monthly, weekly,
quarterly), particularly LOLER inspections, to avoid risk of injury and fines. By doing this, you reduce the risk of injury or damage when using equipment. Complying with LOLER is crucial to your business’ reputation.

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What are the inspection periods under the LOLER regulations?

Once you become aware of what your equipment needs in order to be compliant, LOLER
inspections become less problematic. Inspection periods vary for different equipment, so it is important to be aware of when each type of equipment is due to be examined.

What are the appropriate intervals for thorough examinations?

HSE guidelines give employers examples of the different types of lifting equipment and how often they should be inspected:

● For lifting equipment and any associated accessories used to lift people, LOLER
    states this should be done every six months. Some examples of these are access
    platforms, passenger lifts and window cleaning equipment
● For all lifting accessories (anchoring, fixing for example) the interval is also every six
● For all other lifting equipment, inspections should be done every twelve months.
   Some examples of this kind of equipment include cranes, forklift trucks, lifting jacks -
   (anything that isn’t used to lift people).

These frequencies can also be amended depending on use, condition and/or their environment with the use of a Written Scheme of Examination.

What do you need to do to achieve compliance?

In order to achieve compliance, formal inspections must be carried out by a competent person. While this term is potentially subjective, generally, the term refers to a person who is trained and certified in inspection and has experience of the type of equipment being inspected, with the key requirement being that this person is also independent. Objectivity is extremely important in the inspection process and an independent inspector would ensure that fair decisions are made that are safe.

To do this, an engineering inspection provider is recommended. Not only do they have industry experience, they will be impartial and are able to make sure you have a full understanding of the process.

What happens in a LOLER inspection?

A competent inspector will come to your business and perform the inspection, which consists of three stages:

● Visual examination and functional checks
● Measurements of wear
● Non-destructive testing and load testing (rare).

When a defect is identified that (in the opinion of the inspector) could cause harm to people, you will be notified immediately. Once you are made aware, you must take action to manage the risk by making sure that the defect is highlighted and that the equipment is not used until it is repaired. It is recommended to make a record of the defect, even if it is fixed immediately. The reason for this is so that you are able to keep track of all equipment testing and make records of defects in case they re-occur.

It is understandable that you may be frustrated with this process, as it could potentially lead to large amounts of down time. However, with the right type of management system, or inspection provider, this can be significantly reduced. You need to be aware of what your responsibilities are to ensure your overall compliance, as well as being able to trust a competent inspector to carry out tests. The safety of workers is your main concern - not worrying about inspectors.

If you want to know more about how to improve your current inspection process, download our free eBook: The essential questions to ask your LOLER inspection supplier. Within the guide, you will find more information on the inspection process and how to choose a supplier that is best for your business - keeping your equipment compliant and your employees safe.


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