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03 Oct 2016

A Simple Guide to LOLER: take good care

Safety regulations. It seems that workplaces are full of them, especially where lifting equipment is concerned. But they’re here for a reason – to keep you and your workers safe.

What’s interesting is that we think nothing of taking thorough safety precautions at home. We wouldn’t let a child drive a car, so why would we let an untrained member of staff drove a forklift? Many of the LOLER regulations are just this, common sense. The same common sense we use when protecting our loved ones. LOLER just asks us to extend that level of care a bit – to include other people’s loved ones too.

Want to know whether LOLER applies to you? Here’s a brief overview …

What is it?

LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) came into force on 5 December 1998 alongside the Provision of and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) - see our simple guide to PUWER here. Both of these were created to implement the EU’s changes to the Use of Work Equipment Directive (AUWED).

Who does it apply to?

  • If you’re an employer, or self-employed, and provide lifting equipment for use at work, then LOLER applies to you.
  • If you control the use of lifting equipment, then LOLER applies to you.
  • LOLER doesn’t apply to lifting equipment for public use, like shopping mall escalators.

What equipment does it cover?

  • Crucially, it applies to all equipment designed for lifting, carrying or lowering loads, including all their accessories, such as anchors for fixing and supporting them.
  • It doesn’t matter how simple or complex the equipment – everything is covered – from cranes, forklifts, elevating work platforms and such like, down to to chains, slings and eyebolts.
  • If employees provide their own lifting equipment, beware: these then are also covered by LOLER.
  • LOLER only applies to lifting equipment which is used at work.




How do other regulations impact upon it?

Where does LOLER apply?

Wherever the Health and Safety at Work Act applies, so does LOLER.

  • This can be anywhere within Great Britain, including off-shore sites – from farms to factories and everything in between.

So what do I have to do?

The actions you need to take are not complex, just methodical. You must:

  • Ensure that all lifting equipment is suitable for the use that you intend
  • Ensure that the load and any attachments, such as timber pallets, are also appropriate for the intended use
  • Ensure that the equipment is installed to eliminate the risk of injury
  • Ensure that the equipment is marked with information that should be heeded for its safe use. Accessories must be marked too.

Then be prepared to build proper procedures like these into your lifting operations:

  • Ensure lifting operations are planned and executed in a safe manner by competent people
  • Ensure equipment for lifting people is marked as such, with all precautions taken to minimise any risks
  • Ensure lifting equipment and accessories are examined before first use and re-examined at the periods outlined in the Regulations.
  • Ensure examinations are carried out by a competent person
  • Ensure that examination reports are submitted by the elected competent person to give to the employer to act upon.

So how do I get going?

When you’re ready to do all of the above, it’s time to read the Regulations in their entirety. Remember – nothing within them is complex; it’s all about taking simple and – crucially – public steps towards a safer working environment. You’ll find no impossible hoops to jump through. Pay particular attention to the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) which is first up in this list and can be downloaded in full for free.