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A Simple Guide to Lifting Equipment Regulations

Lifting operations can be extremely dangerous if something goes wrong with the equipment. Not only that, damage to your site and machinery will be costly to repair and you may temporarily lose business.

In order to reduce risks, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduced the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, known as LOLER. Make sure you're in the know about these important lifting equipment regulations with this simple guide from Crane and Lifting Services Ltd.

What is LOLER?

LOLER places legal obligations on any individual or company that owns, operates, or has control over lifting equipment to ensure that their machinery. Put simply, the regulations stipulate that all lifting operations using lifting equipment must be carefully planned by a competent person, performed by a sufficiently qualified and skilled individual, appropriately supervised, and carried out in a safe manner.

It also requires all equipment used for lifting to be fit for purpose, thoroughly examined before first use, regularly inspected and maintained, appropriate for the operation in question, and compliant with ‘safe working load’ marking guidance. Any faults must be reported and repaired, and all services, inspections and maintenance should be recorded.

What lifting equipment do these regulations cover?

The LOLER legislation applies to anyone who owns, operates, or has control over lifting equipment. This includes businesses and organisations whose employees use lifting equipment, whether owned by them or not.

In this context, ‘lifting equipment’ refers to work equipment used for lifting and lowering loads, including overhead cranes, vehicle tail lifts, patient hoists and fork lifts. It also includes lifting accessories such as hooks and chains.

In most cases, lifting equipment is also work equipment so the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) will also apply. Some examples of work equipment covered by PUWER but not LOLER include escalators, stair lifts and platform lifts for customer-use.

Selecting the right equipment

LOLER states that all workplace lifting equipment should be positioned and installed in a way which reduces the risk of the equipment or load injuring someone, or of the load drifting, falling or being unintentionally released by the machinery.

All equipment must also be properly marked. These markings should indicate:

● The equipment’s ‘safe working load’, i.e. the maximum load it can safely lift

● Information about changes to the safe working load depending on the equipment’s configuration

● Accessories’ characteristics that might affect the operation of the equipment, e.g. the weight of the accessory

Planning lifting operations

An important part of LOLER is the requirement for all lifting operations to be properly planned by a competent person, which essentially means that any foreseeable risks should be identified and contingency plans should be put in place to eliminate these risks wherever possible.

Factors to consider include:

● Visibility and space

● Location of the lifting operation

● Whether people are being lifted

● Load weight and contents

● Proximity hazards

● What is directly beneath suspended loads

● Attaching/detaching and securing loads

● Condition of the equipment

● Skill-level of the operator

To ensure that you’re operating within the rules and your employees remain safe at work, you need to have your lifting equipment inspected regularly. Crane and Lifting Services Ltd can help you put safety first. Our qualified crane experts are well-equipped to carry out rigorous inspections and necessary maintenance to keep your equipment compliant and your worksite risk-free. Contact us today for more information.

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