Lifting operations are performed by workers on a daily basis in a wide range of workplaces, from healthcare facilities to warehouses and construction sites. When carried out incorrectly, lifting operations can cause serious injuries and can even result in fatalities.
Almost 40,000 construction workers suffered long-term musculoskeletal disorders as a result of unsafe lifting operations, according to recent data gathered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
LOLER is legislation that was introduced to cover all lifting operations conducted for work purposes. This legislation places responsibilities and duties on anyone who owns, operates or has control over lifting equipment. The purpose of LOLER is to ensure that all equipment used in lifting operations in the workplace is safe for use.
In the following sections, we will provide a definition of LOLER, explain its principles, what equipment it covers and detail what duties are placed on workers and employers.
What Does LOLER Stand For?
LOLER is the acronym commonly used for the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, enforced and overseen by the HSE. The HSE developed LOLER for the Health and Safety Commission in order to further strengthen the 1992 Manual Handling Regulations. It was made law under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and expands on the obligations stipulated by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
What is LOLER?
LOLER was created to ensure that all lifting operations conducted in the workplace that use lifting equipment are safe. LOLER requires that lifting operations are planned by a capable individual who has completed LOLER competent person training. It stipulates that lifting operations must be supervised in an appropriate manner and performed by an employee who is able to complete the task safely.
Under LOLER, lifting equipment must be:
- Strong and stable enough to be used as intended
- Marked to display its maximum load capacity
- Regularly inspected and maintained to ensure it remains in good condition, with any defects recorded and reported
- Stored correctly to ensure its longevity
What Are the 3 Principle Aims of LOLER?
The three main aims as set out by the HSE are:
- Lifting operations must be properly planned and managed
- Lifting equipment must be used in a safe manner
- Lifting equipment must be thoroughly inspected at suitable intervals by a competent person
What is a Lifting Operation Under LOLER?
Regulation 8(2) of LOLER states that a lifting operation is “an operation concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load”. A load is defined as any item or object that is being lifted, including people and animals. Any time you are using a piece of equipment or machinery to lift something at work, these regulations probably apply.
What Equipment is Covered By LOLER?
LOLER regulations apply to a wide range of lifting equipment used in various types of workplaces such as:
- Construction sites
- Hotels and restaurants
- Care homes
- Residential properties – if lifting equipment is used by homeworkers
Examples of lifting equipment covered by the LOLER regulations include:
- Lift trucks
- Telescopic handlers or booms
- Pallet trucks able to lift forks above 3 metres
- Rope and pulley systems
- Goods or passenger lifts in workplaces, such as those in an office block or a hospital
- Patient hoists
- Vehicle inspection hoists
- Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPS)
- Rope systems used during tree trimming or working on telecommunication towers
- Vehicle tail lifts
Equipment NOT Covered By LOLER
It should be noted that there are certain types of equipment that LOLER does not apply to, such as:
- Conveyor belts
- Fall arrest ropes
- Equipment that is not designed to lift as a primary function, such as a plough that may move up and down but primarily moves horizontally
- Equipment that is only used by the public and not for work purposes, such as an elevator in an apartment block
- LOLER does not apply to ships unless land-based workers are put at risk
What are Your Obligations Under the LOLER Regulations?
LOLER places many legal duties and obligations on employers and employees relating to the use of lifting equipment. These responsibilities include:
- Suitability – Lifting equipment must be suitable for the task for which it will be used. It must be constructed and adapted for the task it will be used for. Employers must ensure that there is an appropriate selection of equipment
- Strength and stability – Lifting equipment must be appropriately strong so that it can withstand any forces that will be applied to it, for instance, the effect of wind on a crane. Lifting equipment must be stable enough to ensure that it is not at risk of overturning. For instance, so that it isn’t easily blown over in an outdoor environment
- Safe positioning and installation – Lifting equipment must be positioned and installed to prevent the risk of injury. This must be done in a manner that reduces the likelihood of any loads falling onto or striking anybody
- Markings – As well as identifying information, such as the safe working load, lifting equipment must be visibly marked, with the correct warnings and labels
- Appropriate use – Lifting operations must be planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner
- Safe lifting of people – When lifting equipment is used to lift people, there are additional requirements that must be followed. The equipment must be marked as safe and safe for the purpose
- Precautions – All precautions must be to eliminate or reduce inherent risks
- Inspection – Lifting equipment, including accessories, must be subject to several types of inspection, including pre-use checks conducted by the user each time lifting equipment is used, and thorough examinations conducted by a suitably competent person at regular intervals. Regular inspections may also be required for more complex lifting equipment in between thorough examinations
- Training and Instructions – Any person or persons who are to use lifting equipment during a lifting operation must be properly trained in how to use the equipment and properly instructed on how to perform the task correctly.
- Legible instructions – Lifting equipment should come with a set of instructions that are legible and able to be clearly understood by the worker or workers who are using the equipment
How to Provide LOLER Training to Your Staff
LOLER training is crucial if staff and management are to perform lifting operations safely. Completing accredited LOLER training that is provided by a professional, reputable provider will ensure that all risks involved in lifting operations are mitigated or eliminated.
If you are interested in LOLER training, the Human Focus LOLER training courses provide participants with a throughout knowledge of their responsibilities under LOLER and teach trainees how to perform risk assessments and lifting equipment inspections. These courses will make sure that your workplace stays safe and complies with legal obligations.