In addition to providing regulations on examination and testing, as well as guidelines for safe lifting operations (amongst various other regulations), LOLER also requires accurate record-keeping to ensure the safety of equipment. 

As with the various other regulations covered by LOLER, duty holders are obligated to hold appropriate information on their lifting equipment in order to be compliant. This information is particularly useful for inspections and is also beneficial in keeping track of the condition of your machinery. 

Before considering the purpose and benefits of record-keeping, it’s important to first look at the obligations duty holders have under LOLER.

What are the duty holder’s obligations?

The keeping of information is covered in Regulation 11 of the LOLER 1998 guidelines and is designed to ensure that accurate records of lifting equipment are kept. 

A duty holder’s main obligation is to ensure that all relevant information relating to your lifting equipment is kept and easily accessible when required. This includes initial thorough examination and test reports, subsequent thorough examination and LOLER inspection documentation and records of any EC Declarations of Conformity. 

Duty holders are also required to keep initial examination reports when the safety of new lifting equipment depends on the installation conditions. These reports should also be kept when equipment is moved to, or reinstalled in, a new location. 

All of these documents must be readily available for review during relevant inspections and should be kept in a secure location. It is possible for the owner to request that records are kept by another body on the owner’s behalf, providing they can be readily accessed by an enforcing authority. 

Effective record-keeping is not just useful to be compliant with regulations, but also helps with the management of lifting equipment.

What records should be kept under LOLER?

LOLER requires that three different types of records are kept relating to the examination and inspection of lifting equipment. These three categories are:

Thorough Examination reports

Following a thorough examination, the ‘competent person’ who provided the inspection will provide the duty holder with a written report. The report will identify any defects with the lifting equipment and what must be done to correct these issues. 

Regulation 11 states that every report is “kept available for inspection”, with the length of time these records must be kept varying depending on the type of equipment they are recording. 

A copy of the initial thorough examination report for lifting equipment should be kept for the life of the machinery (unless the EU Declaration is available), while the report for lifting accessories should be kept for two years after examination. 

As part of the written report the duty holder receives following a thorough examination, there should also be details of any tests that took place. This should include information on the test loads applied, with this documentation kept until the item is removed from the location at which the examination took place.

EC Declaration of Conformity

An EC Declaration of Conformity is a statement to confirm that the lifting equipment meets the requirements of the Machinery Directive. In the UK, this is implemented through the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992, as well as the Lifts Regulations 1997

This documentation ensures that equipment placed on the market is safe to use, in so far as it satisfies the requirements of the above legislation. An item of equipment that meets these requirements is affixed with a CE mark and is issued with a Declaration of Conformity to indicate that it has met safety requirements. 

Where an EC Declaration of Conformity is obtained with lifting equipment in accordance with the above regulations, then the owner should retain this document for the life of the equipment. 

Records of Inspection

Finally, in-service inspections or tests may also be required in between thorough examinations. These inspections can be based on the equipment manufacturer’s instructions, or as part of the organisation of lifting operations [link to previous blog]

These inspections are at the discretion of the duty holder and should be used to identify potential defects involved in the regular use of equipment - particularly in hazardous environments. 

Inspections of this type can include daily or weekly operator checks and periodic maintenance checks. As with any other type of inspection, records should be kept of these checks in order to identify potential defects and to maintain up-to-date information on the condition of lifting equipment. 

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How long records should be kept for

The amount of time records are kept under LOLER guidelines varies depending on the type of lifting equipment and its use. The INDG422 Thorough examination of lifting equipment document provides useful information on how long records should be kept: 

  • Thorough examination before first use reports should be kept for lifting equipment until the employer ceases to use the machinery. In the case of lifting accessories, reports should be kept for two years
  • EC Declaration of Conformity documentation should be kept until you cease to use the equipment. The EC Declaration of Conformity should remain with the machine when it is bought or sold
  • Thorough examination before use where the safety of the equipment depends on the installation conditions reports need to be retained until the equipment is no longer in use at the location where is was installed/assembled
  • In-service thorough examination reports must be kept either until the next report is made, or for two years (depending on whichever occurs first)
  • In-service inspection or test reports should be retained until the next report is made.

While it is only required that in-service testing reports are kept until the next report is made, retaining records of all this documentation, including lists of defects will help with LOLER inspection. It is the duty holder’s responsibility to keep detailed reports which will aid in the ability to identify recurring equipment issues so they can be corrected before the thorough examination take place. 

All of these records can be held electronically, as long as they can be reproduced if required. 

Keeping accurate records is an important part of LOLER inspection and can help you quickly identify faults and defects in your lifting equipment. When choosing a LOLER inspection supplier, finding a company with a wide range of services allows for any defects to be addressed quickly and with minimum disruption to operations. 

For helpful tips and advice, download our free checklist to prepare for your LOLER inspections. 

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