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An Introduction to LOLER – Lifting Equipment Regulations

As it’s estimated that 35% of the more serious injuries that occur in the workplace are caused by neglecting simple manual handling techniques, we thought we should introduce you to LOLER. 

What does LOLER stand for?

LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) were put in place to describe what you, as an employer, should be doing to keep your employees safe in the workplace.

Why was LOLER introduced?

LOLER was introduced in 1998 as a set of regulations created under the Health and Safety at Work Act and provided guidance and requirements for lifting equipment and lifting operations to help lower the rate of injury in the workplace from incorrect lifting techniques, faulty equipment and poor planning. 

Whilst there are no specific duties that employees must follow, the regulations apply to all employers or self-employed workers who provide or use lifting equipment in their working environment.

What’s required to follow the LOLER regulations?

To ensure you’re abiding by the requirements of LOLER, you must check that every piece of lifting equipment in the workplace is suitable for its designed use and is sufficiently strong and stable enough to cope with the intended load. Each piece of equipment must also be installed or positioned according to the manufacturer’s instructions and not be at risk of causing injury from falling or striking your employees. 

As well as checking the equipment for suitability, you must ensure that all important information is clearly displayed on it. For example, maximum load capacities and marked lifting points.

Also, you should check that:

  • Employees have received the appropriate training and are always under supervision when lifting.
  • Equipment is inspected for faults at regular intervals, and the findings are collated in a report to decide on appropriate action.
  • Equipment is thoroughly examined before first use, including accessories.
  • All lifting equipment and accessories are deemed fit for purpose – with any faults being reported to senior staff and clearly marked as out of order.
  • There is a suitable plan in place before you begin lifting. This may include evaluating risk factors such as proximity hazards, overloading and location.

Safety risks when neglecting LOLER

As with all safety regulations and guidance, if they’re not followed, the chances of an injury in the workplace significantly increase. If you choose not to adhere to LOLER, you run the risk of the following. 

What happens if you don’t adhere to LOLER regulations?

  • Employees could be injured by faulty equipment. For example, a wheel may become loose on a sack truck whilst under load – causing the load to fall.
  • Trapping clothes or body parts between moving parts – causing dragging or crushing.
  • Using equipment inappropriately due to lack of training and experience – highlighting the necessity for supervision.
  • Acquiring injuries from broken parts or sharp edges on equipment that hasn’t been inspected regularly.
  • Causing damage to equipment and loaded goods by your equipment or machinery overturning due to not being secured correctly or overloaded.

What are the 3 principal aims of LOLER?

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) have set out 3 principal aims of LOLER, which include: 

  1. Lifting operations must be properly planned and managed.
  2. Lifting equipment must be inspected thoroughly at suitable intervals by a competent person. 
  3. Lifting equipment must be operated safely. 

How often should a LOLER test be carried out? 

You should arrange for an examination to be carried out by LOLER every 6 to 12 months. This depends on your equipment, how frequently it is used and the conditions within which they are operated. Alternatively, an examination can be conducted by a competent person in accordance with the LOLER examination scheme. However, the following testing schedule should be followed: 

Lifting equipment Frequency of LOLER examination 
Lifting equipment and any associated accessories that are used to lift people Every 6 months
All lifting accessoriesEvery 6 months
All other lifting equipmentEvery 12 months

How long does a LOLER inspection last?

Depending on the equipment being tested, a LOLER inspection can take between 1-3 hours by a competent person. The inspection length depends on the equipment’s age and overall condition. 

Is LOLER testing a legal requirement?

Yes, LOLER testing is a legal requirement if you have lifting equipment in your workplace. These tests are legal requirements to ensure the safety of employees and should be taken seriously. 

What are the main requirements of LOLER?

LOLER assesses the strength and stability of lifting equipment to ensure that it is adequate for working environments. This is to ensure that safety operations are of the highest standard and that employees are protected and safe. 

Who is responsible for LOLER?

Employers are responsible for all health and safety assessments, and a specific person within the business should be responsible for organising or conducting LOLER examinations. As this is a legal requirement, the person responsible should be organised and be able to keep track of the LOLER checks and when they need to be renewed. 

We hope we’ve made you think twice about skipping equipment checks or allowing untrained staff to operate lifting equipment – hopefully before an accident occurs. If you’d like to read into LOLER in more detail, you can head over to the HSE website to find a brief guide on lifting equipment at work whilst enforcing LOLER.

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