LOLER 1998 Explained

Everything you need to know about LOLER 1998

LOLER Explained - Everything you need to know

The never ending articles of legislation that are applicable to lifting equipment can often even leave those with years of experience within the industry slightly confused. The most applicable legislation to the lifting equipment industry is LOLER 1998 and it's common this legislation leaves many seeking further clarity.

Lifting operations can often put people at risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs when they go wrong. The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, which are often abbreviated to LOLER, LOLER Regulations or LOLER 1998, place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment.

So to help you get the best understanding of this tricky legislation and to ensure your organisation remains compliant we've decided to create our own guide to LOLER 1998

What is LOLER?

To put it simply the LOLER regulations require that all lifting operations involving lifting equipment must be properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner. It also requires that all equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task and suitably marked, with suitable maintenance recorded and defects reported. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers  some useful advise for businesses or organisations undertaking lifting operations or for those providing lifting equipment for others to use:

Where you undertake lifting operations involving lifting equipment you must:

  • Plan them properly
  • Use people who are sufficiently competent
  • Supervise them appropriately
  • Ensure that they are carried out in a safe mannerhttps

Why was LOLER brought into action?

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations were passed in 1998 (which is why you may see us refer to the legislation as ‘LOLER 1998’). They replaced the Construction and Use (Lifting) regulations of 1961, which used to require each piece of lifting equipment to undergo an overload test every four years. However this was creating issues

These old regulations were replaced with LOLER because certain types of lifting equipment are prone to damage during conventional overload tests. If you are unsure of what an overload test is please visit this page. LOLER inspections, which involve a thorough examination each year. A thorough examination does not cause unnecessary stress on the lifting equipment, unlike the old conventional way and therefore doesn’t affect the lifespan of this lifting equipment. As LOLER Inspections can be conducted at more regular intervals, they also  ensure good performance of the lifting equipment over time

Is LOLER Enforced and who enforces it?

The HSE appoint health and safety inspectors to enforce the legislation LOLER. They have the authority to request access to your thorough examination and lifting operation reports at any time therefore it is crucial that you maintain a thorough record of all of this information to ensure maximum compliance and minimum risk for yourselves. In addition to this if one of your employees suffers an accident while using a piece of lifting equipment and your organisation was not compliant with LOLER 1998 then you will be prosecuted!

Now you know this it is therefore crucial that whenever lifting equipment is used on your business’s premises, the HSE’s LOLER Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (ACOP) is followed strictly to ensure your organisation is covered. This will not only ensure the safety of your employees, but also provide legal cover in the event of a lifting equipment-related accident. LOLER inspections will catch any defects with your equipment before they have a chance to develop and therefore help prolong its lifespan. Using a provider such as Lloyds British International will ensure you are and will remain covered in event of any incidents and we also ensure maximum compliance within the workplace. 

Where and who does LOLER 1998 Apply to?

If you are an employer or self-employed person providing lifting equipment for use at work, or you have control of the use of lifting equipment, then the LOLER Regulations will apply to you. They do not apply if you provide equipment to be used primarily by members of the public, for example lifts in a shopping centre. However, such circumstances are covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act). While your employees do not have duties under LOLER, they do have general duties under the HSW Act and the Managementof Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (MHSWR), for example to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions and to co-operate with others. The Regulations cover places where the HSW Act applies – these include factories, offshore installations, agricultural premises, offices, shops, hospitals, hotels, places of entertainment etc.

The legislation applies every time a piece of lifting equipment is used on your business premises, whether you are the owner of that equipment or not. To comply with LOLER, this equipment must have passed a thorough examination by a competent person in the last 12 months, and it must be marked with its Safe Working Load (SWL) or commonly known as a Working Load Limit. To find out how working load limits are determined visit this page. A LOLER Inspection should also determine any characteristic that might affect its safe use.

Another aspect to the LOLER Legislation also requires that any lifting equipment used to lift people, such as mobile elevated work platforms, needs to be clearly marked with the maximum number of people it can lift safely at one time. Lifting equipment that is not designed to lift people but could conceivably be used to do so in error must be clearly marked to indicate it should not be used for this purpose.

Each lifting operation — which LOLER defines as “an operation concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load” — must be performed on equipment which has passed a thorough examination in the past 12 months and also be planned and supervised by a competent person.

Please note that if you are a contractor using your own lifting accessory, such as a sling or chain, on another person’s business premises, then LOLER is also applicable to you and if required to you need to able to present evidence of a report of thorough examination

What do the Regulations require me to do?

You need to ensure that in using any lifting equipment the requirements of LOLER are met. For example, you should ensure that all lifting equipment is:

  • Sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for the proposed use. Similarly, the load and anything attached (e.g. timber pallets, lifting points) must be suitable
  • Positioned or installed to prevent the risk of injury, e.g. 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. slings, clamps, etc, should be similarly marked
  • Lifting operations are planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner by people who are competent. Click here to view our lifting equipment training
  • 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 may need to be thoroughly examined in use at periods specified in the Regulations (i.e. at least six-monthly for accessories and equipment used for lifting people and, at a minimum, annually for all other equipment) or at intervals laid down in an examination scheme drawn up by a competent person. All examination work should be performed by a competent person;
  • Following a thorough examination or inspection of any lifting equipment, a report is submitted by the competent person to the employer to take any appropriate action. For any more information on Lloyds British International compliance management services please visit this page

How to Plan a Lift in Accordance with LOLER

In accordance with guidelines that the HSE  have set out lifting operations should be planned on a case-by-case basis. Routine lifting operations, such as the use of forklift trucks in a factory, only require minimal planning, however don’t let that create complacency! whereas uncommon and complex operations should be planned more thoroughly in accordance to the LOLER ACOP by a competent person.

The purpose of a lifting plan is to address the foreseeable risks involved in the procedure and to minimise them. Furthermore it is to detail the people and resources required in order to carry out a safe lift. It should also clearly set out each step involved in the operation and assign each to a person with enough knowledge and expertise to perform the task safely and competently. 

For complex operations, this plan should be created and carried out by a competent person or a team of competent people and then kept on record. For commonplace operations, such as an experienced forklift truck operator performing a routine lift, a generic plan can be signed by the operator themselves..

Who is a competent person in accordance with LOLER 1998?

A ‘competent person’ is somebody who has the sufficient knowledge and understanding to identify issues with the lifting equipment they are examining. The term is used to legally distinguish a ‘competent person’ from others who may just undertake regular servicing and maintenance of lifting equipment. For example the job role of someone who carries out pre use checks is different to the job role of the individual who carries out the thorough examination of the lifting equipment.  

Within the HSE INDG422 guidelines it states that a ‘competent person’ “should have enough appropriate practical & theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment so that they can detect defects or weaknesses and assess how important they are in relation to the safety and continued use of the equipment”.

Knowledge and experience are not the only criteria, however. A ‘competent person’ “should not be the same person who performs routine maintenance as they would be responsible for assessing their own work” and should also “be sufficiently independent and impartial to make objective decisions”.

To briefly summarise it a competent person in accordance with LOLER is someone with sufficient theoretical and practical knowledge and is impartial to all decisions made. 

What happens happens during a LOLER Inspection?

LOLER Inspection in accordance with LOLER 1998  is a thorough examination of lifting equipment carried out at specific intervals. These inspections are to be carried out by a competent person who then must complete a written report.

The report was include ;

  • Name and address of the employer and the premises where the Inspection takes place
  • Identification and known date of manufacture of the Lifting Equipment
  • Date of last Inspection
  • The safe working load of the lifting equipment
  • The interval in which the lifting equipment inspections must take place
  • State any defects identified in the inspection of the lifting equipment
  • The name, address and qualifications of the competent  person undertaking the inspection of the lifting equipment
  • The date the inspection report was made

When Lloyds British International completes an Inspection and thorough examination we aim to implement a safer environment close contact with the lifting equipment but also ensures that the organisation remains compliant with LOLER 1998.

How Often does lifting equipment need to undergo a thorough examination (LOLER Inspection )

In the case where there is not a examination scheme specifying other internals, loler inspection and inspection of lifting equipment according to LOLER 1998 should be carried out ;

  • 6 months, for lifting equipment and associated accessories used to lift people (ie. Access Equipment, MEWPS)
  • 6 months, for lifting accessories (ie. Chain Slings, Webbing Slings, shackles, eyebolts)
  • 12 months, for all other lifting equipment (ie. Cranes and forklift trucks)

Lifting accessories — any equipment used to attach a load to lifting machinery, such as slings and chains — need to be undergo a thorough examination every six months.

It is essential these time periods are followed to ensure lifting equipment is compliant with Lifting Operations and Lifting equipment regulations 1998 (LOLER). We here at Lloyds British International are here to manage you’re compliance to ensure your workforce and organisation remain compliant and safe.

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