What does LOLER stand for, it is just an acronym short for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.
Working with lifting equipment can be dangerous because moving machinery can cause injuries in many ways.
The Regulations aim to make working life safer for anyone who comes into contact with lifting equipment: employers and employees; contractors; and others. They cover lifting equipment used to lift loads or people and affect all sectors of industry. Usually, lifting equipment is also work equipment so the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) will also apply.
LOLER applies to the way lifting equipment is used in commerce and industry. If you are an employer or self-employed person and you provide lifting equipment for use at work; or have control of the use of lifting equipment, the regulations apply to you.
If the lifting equipment is to be used mostly by members of the public, for example lifts in a block of flats, then LOLER does not apply.
The regulations cover workplaces where the Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act applies.
When using lifting equipment for work purposes, employers must ensure the requirements of LOLER are met.
Lifting equipment must be:
sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for the proposed use. Similarly, the load and anything attached (eg timber pallets, lifting points) must be suitable;
positioned or installed to prevent the risk of injury, eg 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 swl. Any accessories, such as slings, clamps etc., should also be similarly marked.
Employers must also make sure 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 must also be thoroughly examined in use at periods specified in the Regulations. That is at least six-monthly for accessories and equipment used for lifting people. A minimum of annually for all other equipment, or at intervals decided upon by a competent person.
All examination work should be performed by a competent person. That is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience;
At regular scheduled intervals a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts is carried out by a competent person. Then a written report must be produced. This report must contain the information required by LOLER Schedule 1, including: the examination date. If the report find no defects or corrective actions required this is what is commonly meant by a LOLER certificate.
The Regulations require that a number of elements are considered when planning lifting jobs and selecting a piece of equipment. It is essential that the lift is properly planned by a competent person and any equipment used had had a LOLER thorough examination.
Does the lifting equipment have adequate lifting capacity for the proposed use?
Is the lifting equipment susceptible to failure modes likely to arise in service, such as: fracture; wear; or fatigue?
Does the equipment have an appropriate margin of safety against foreseeable failures?
Is the lifting equipment mounting or fixing point suitably secured? Mobile lifting equipment may require extra attention.
Is there a risk of overturning or could part of the load fail? For example timber pallets must be of adequate strength to uphold the load and should be checked for damage or defects before a lift.
Does the weight of any accessories, such as pallets or slings, need to be taken into account?
Will the positioning mean that loads are lifted over people, loads to be lifted over people must always be minimised or eliminated.
Is there a risk of crushing when the lifting equipment is in extreme positions?
Does the lifting equipment follow a fixed path no more than 2m above the ground, if so can the load path be enclosed or fenced off?
Can someone be trapped by the lifting equipment or lifted loads while it is in use?
Are there any hoistways or shaft enclosures that require gates?
Does the equipment have a variable safe working limit? If so is it clearly marked with adequate information on safe working loads swl?
Does the equipment require rated capacity indicators and rated capacity limiters?
Is any structural part of the equipment ever dismantled or partially dismantled so that it could become separated?
Have all lifting assemblies been marked to indicate their safety characteristics?
Do lifting accessories which affect the safe working load of a machine have their weight marked on them?
Does lifting equipment designed to lift people display the maximum number of people it can carry?
Is the person planning the lift adequately trained and experienced in operations involving lifting equipment?
What lifting operations does the plan need to cover and what loads are to be lifted?
Will the loads be suspended over areas occupied by people?
Will the operator be able to see the full path of the load, or will a banksman or signaler be required?
Are the accessories suitable for the load attachments required?
Will the weather affect any lifts, such as high wind speeds or low visibility due to fog.
Is the location suitable for the lift or is anything close to the lift that may cause problems, such as overhead power lines?
Where is the centre of gravity of the load, is there a chance of overturning and can it be reduced?
Are there any factors which may lower the safe working limit of the lifting equipment?
If people are being lifted, can they communicate with the operator and is there a reliable means of rescue in the event of a failure?
Will the safe working limit be exceeded?
Is there a scheduled LOLER thorough examination scheme in place?
Are examinations thorough and carried out by an experienced or trained individual?
Are the results of inspections being reported and acted upon?
Obligations are placed upon employers to ensure lifting equipment is fit for purpose; operators are aware of how to safely use equipment; and that lifts are planned safely.
The Safe use of lifting equipment: Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) supports LOLER, alongside other free guidance from the HSE.
The ACOP is not law, however it has a special status (outlined on the introductory page (ii) of the ACOP) and was produced under section 16 of the HSW Act.
LOLER does not include any requirement for risk assessments to be carried out. This is because The Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations 1992 already cover this and is supported by the ACOP.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). These were brought into effect at the same time as LOLER. They also apply to lifting equipment in the workplace and are additionally supported by the ACOP.
In certain circumstances, more specific legislation may apply, for example the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations when harnesses are used for rope access work for activities such as window cleaning.
More information and guidance on the legal requirements and application of LOLER and other appropriate legislation can be found in the HSE’s ACOP.
Lifting equipment at work: A brief guide also offers useful information with regards to the legal requirements of LOLER.
Open learning guidance for LOLER and the supporting ACOP is also available:
For further guidance on risk assessment: Risk assessment: A brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace