LOLER - Lifting right
Equipment used at work to lift or lower loads can generate its own safety risks. The range of lifting equipment covered by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment at Work Regulations 1998 (LOLER) is very wide and the Regulations can apply across all industry sectors; from healthcare to construction, most industries and commercial activity will use some kind of lifting equipment. LOLER was introduced as a unifying set of Regulations, replacing industry specific legislation to control these risks, and places emphasis on the effective management of lifting equipment.
Technological progress has meant that innovative, often complex and powerful lifting equipment is now available for use. Nevertheless, whether it is modern and complex or more traditional lifting equipment, LOLER will apply if it is used by employees or the relevant self-employed at work.
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 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).
There are three key terms used in reference to the Regulations: 'lifting equipment'; 'lifting operations'; and 'the load'.
Lifting equipment includes any equipment used at work for lifting or lowering loads, including attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. The Regulations cover a wide range of equipment including, cranes, forklift trucks, lifts, hoists, mobile elevating work platforms, and vehicle inspection platform hoists. The definition also includes lifting accessories such as chains, slings, eyebolts etc.
The term lifting operation is defined by LOLER regulation 8(2): 'In this regulation "lifting operation" means an operation concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load.'
The load includes any material, people or animals (or any combination of these) that is lifted by the lifting equipment. Loads are often provided with permanent or semi-permanent fixed or attached points for lifting. In most cases, these are considered to be part of the load.
You need to make sure that when using any lifting equipment the requirements of LOLER are met. For example, you should make sure that all lifting equipment is:
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, eg safe working loads. Accessories, eg slings, clamps etc, should be similarly marked.
Additionally, you must 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, eg 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
Following a thorough examination or inspection of any lifting equipment, a report is submitted by the competent person to the employer to take the appropriate action.
LOLER requires lifting equipment to be maintained so that it remains safe and that maintenance is carried out safely. An effective maintenance programme will make equipment more reliable. Fewer breakdowns will mean less dangerous contact with equipment is required, as well as having the cost benefits of better productivity and efficiency.
For further information on exactly what you need to comply with LOLER, please contact us here.