Lifting Equipment (GUIDANCE)
SIMPLE GUIDE TO THE LIFTING OPERATIONS AND LIFTING
EQUIPMENT REGULATIONS (LOLER) 1998
2. What is LOLER ?
3. What does LOLER do ?
4. What equipment is covered by LOLER ?
5. Do the Regulations apply to me ?
6. What do the Regulations require me to do ?
7. How do the Regulations relate to other health and safety legislation ?
8. How are the Regulations enforced?
This guide provides information about the legal requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) which came into force on 5th December 1998. It gives a general indication of some of the main requirements of the Regulations.
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 from lifting 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) see Further Information.
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 minimise any risks;
- used safely, i.e. the work is planned, organised and performed by competent people;
- subject to ongoing thorough examination and, where appropriate, inspection by competent people.
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 Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
If you allow employees to provide their own lifting equipment, then this too is covered by the Regulations.
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 etc 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 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 entertainment, etc.
You need to ensure that in using any lifting equipment the requirements of LOLER are met.
For example, you should ensure that all lifting equipment is:
- 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. safe working loads. Accessories, 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;
- following a thorough examination or inspection of any lifting equipment, a report is submitted by the competent person to the employer to take the appropriate action.
The requirements of the Regulations need to be considered alongside other health and safety law. For example, Section 2 of the HSW Act requires all employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. Similarly, the MHSWR contain important duties which relate to the carrying out of a risk assessment to identify measures that you can take to eliminate, or reduce, the risks presented by the particular hazards in your workplace. Guidance on how to do this is set out in the HSE publication 5 Steps to Risk Assessment .
Other more specific legislation, for example, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, may also apply. Under these particular Regulations there may be a need to provide a safety harness for rope access work during activities such as window cleaning.
Health and safety inspectors enforce the Regulations. If you have duties under LOLER you will be given time to assimilate the new requirements. However, where there are serious risks, or the requirements are not new, inspectors will be prepared to take firm enforcement action.