These regulations, that are often simply known as LOLER put duties on individuals and companies who operate and own lifting equipment. The regulations include organizations and businesses with employees who use such equipment, regardless of who owns the aforementioned equipment. In the majority of cases, lifting equipment is also classified as work equipment, so the PUWER also applies this including maintenance and inspections (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations). All lifting operations that involve equipment for lighting must be correctly planned by a trained and competent person; operations must also be supervised and carried out in a manner that is considered to be safe.
LOLER also requires that all lifting equipment is indeed appropriate for the task involved, fit for the purpose, and also suitably marked. In the majority of cases, the equipment is also subjected to thorough statutory examinations. Records of such examination need to be preserved, and any faults or defects that are found must be reported to the individual who is responsible for the equipment as well as to the enforcing authority.
LOLER – What you need to do
If your organization or business is involved in the providing of equipment for lifting for others, or undertakes lifting operations, you are required to control and manage the risks in order to avoid damage and injury.
In the case that you use lifting equipment to undertake lifting operations, you must:
- Plan them correctly
- Only use individuals who are trained and fully competent
- Ensure you supervise them appropriately at all times
- Ensure that the lifting operations are carried out in a safe manner
LOLER – What you need to know
LOLER is currently supported by “The Safe use of lifting equipment: ACOP (Approved Code of Practice) and guide from HSE that is additional and free of charge”
To date, ACOP is not law. It has however been produced under the HSW (Health and Safety at Work Act, section 16) ACOP has special status, this being outlined on page ii of the introductory text. This currently supports not just LOLER but also section 2 of HSW, general provisions act, and more regulations, including the 1999 Management of Health and Safety at Work act, and PUWER, when it comes to lifting operations and lifting equipment.
When safety harnesses are used, for access with ropes during activities such as vertical window cleaning, more specific legislation may apply, more specific legislation may apply such as the PPEWR (Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations)
Guidance material about LOLER is also published by other organizations that companies find useful. Most of such information, including LOLER and its application in practice, can be found online with a standard web search. In addition to this, HSE has also developed open learning guidance, this allowing anyone who wants to learn about LOLER to be able to do so with ease.
LOLER is a wide application, but it should be noted that it generally doesn’t include equipment used on ships. This is because equipment used for lifting on ships comes under provisions laid down by merchant shipping legislation. Enforcement between the two organizations is enforced through the use of a PDF Memorandum of Understanding, and a MoU (Portable Document Format) between the Maritime and Coastguard agency and the HSE and the MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch. These documents and material cover matters relating to lifting equipment and lifting.
The majority of equipment used for lifting as well as accessories, also fall into the scope of the Machinery Directive, this being implemented by the UK “Supply of Machinery” safety regulations. Equipment used for such purposed must be CE marked and is subject to conformity assessment. Alongside the CE mark, is a DoC (Declaration of Conformity), this being necessary before the equipment can be used or placed on the market; this included equipment that is lifted using only direct manpower such as car jacks and chain blocks that are operated manually.
The DoC is an important document that must accompany any new product. The DoC should be retained by the person who uses the equipment. When the equipment supplied does not require assembly or installation before use, the DoC replaced the need for an initial thorough examination.
Lifting Operations; what are they?
The LOLER definition of a lifting operation, regulation 8, 2 is “an operation that requires the lowering or lifting of a load” A load is the items or item that are being lifted, and can include people.
What is Lifting Equipment?
Lifting equipment is defined as equipment that is used for the lowering and lifting of loads. This includes attachment and accessories that are used for fixing, anchoring, or supporting the aforementioned equipment.
Choosing the Correct Equipment
LOLER requirements state that the equipment that is used for lifting must be adequately stable and strong. This is in addition to PUWER obligations regarding how suitable equipment for lifting.
Equipment that is to be used for lifting must be installed or positioned a way that ensures risks are reduced. This means that, where at all possible, the equipment should be installed in a way where the risk of striking a person, or the load falling freely or drifting or being released unintentionally is reduced as much as possible
In the case that people are to be lifted, there are more requirements, these ensuring that the people are not injured by the carrier. Such lifting equipment requires thorough examinations with more frequency.
Marking of Lifting Equipment
All equipment and accessories that are to be used for lifting have to be cleared with the max load they can lift (SWL safe working load).
Where there is more than one potential configuration for a piece of lifting equipment, the SWLs for all potential configurations must be stated. A hook of a hoist may have different positions where it can be used, and the SWL should be indicated for all positions. In certain case, this information should be kept with the machinery, such as for a crane that has several different permitted configurations.
All accessories should also be marked in order to show any characteristics that may affect their safe use. Where the weight is of significance, this may include the weight of the parts.
In the case that people are to be lifted by the equipment, the maximum number of people and the SWL should be clearly marked on the equipment.
When lifting equipment is not suitable for lifting people, it should be marked to indicate this. This will ensure errors are avoided.
Planning, Organization, and Carrying Out Lifting Operations
All operations that involve lifting equipment need to be:
- Correctly planned by a person who is competent to do so
- Supervised appropriately
- Conducted and carried out in a manner that is safe.
In the planning stage of a lifting operation, risk assessment and identification are keys to identifying the best method and equipment to be used for the job. Lifting can range from:
- Commonplace and simple lifting, where little planning by competent and trained individuals is sufficient
- Complex operations, where detailed records and planning are required using sophisticated methods. In this case, the planning of operations will be carried out only by experts in the field who have undertaken extensive training in input, supervision, and monitoring.
The extent of the resources and the complexity of the plan used to manage risk have to reflect the difficulty and complexity of the lifting operation.
Further Information on Organizing and Planning of Lifting Operations
Equipment that is to be used for lifting needs to be thoroughly examined in various different situations, including:
- Before initial use (Unless there is a DoC that is valid and that has been made in the 12 months prior to the first use)
- Where an installation or re-installation or assembly is necessary at the same or a different site
- Where the lifting equipment is exposed to conditions that may cause deterioration.
Records of these examinations must be made, defects being reported to the person who used the equipment or to the person from whom it was leased or hired. Reports should also be sent to the HSE for industrial workplaces and to the relevant local authority for all other workplaces.
Lifting Equipment that May be Exempt from LOLER
LOLER is only applicable to equipment that is used for lifting at work. Some types of equipment, such as that which is used continuously to lift goods or people from one level to next are not subject to LOLER. However, when used in the work place, PUWER provisions still apply, these including training, inspection, and maintenance of such equipment. Moving walkways, escalators, and conveyor system and pallet trucks are all examples of lifting equipment subject to PUWER but exempt from LOLER
Other lifting equipment may be exempt from both LOWE and PUWER, platform lifts for disabled access and stair lifts in private being two examples. However, when such equipment is used in public places, the equipment is subjected to the HSW Act. This means that it should be inspected and examined for safety, using PUWER and LOLER requirements as a guide.
Equipment in shopping centres, such as lifts, that are installed for use by the public, but not for work, needs to meet the relevant EPSDs (European Product Supply Directives) when placed on the market, it must be safe by construction and design. Platform lifts and stair lofts used by the mobility impaired come under the Machinery Directive. Equipment that covers a vertical distance of more than 3 metres requires 3rd party assessment by a notified body. A Conventional passenger lift needs to meet the requirements set out in the Lifts Directive.
Furthermore, the self-employed and employers have responsibilities for the safety of people that are not under their employment but who may be affected by the employer’s work. (HSW act, section 3) This may include maintenance workers who carry out work on equipment at work. Businesses who allow members of the public to use passenger lifts that are in place for people not at work must adhere to the same stringent standards set down by PUWER and LOLER. In such cases, insurer will also require the same high standard of protection in order to manage public liability in such situations.