Lifting operations and machinery can pose numerous hazards. Unfortunately every year a great number of fatal injuries occur during lifting operations or involving cranes, lifting equipment and other powered access machines. 

Some industry publications work to bring these incidents to light in order to raise awareness and improve safety, but the prevalence of such incidents serves to highlight the importance of ongoing, stringent safety measures.

Reducing and, hopefully one day, avoiding these accidents altogether takes the combined effort of every person involved at every point of the operation: from the machine manufacturer to the machine operator as well as everyone onsite.

With a view to curbing the rate of incidents of this type, in 1998 the British Government introduced what is known in the industry as “LOLER”: Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. These regulations provide a framework that lays out the responsibilities and duties to be carried out by each person involved in the supply, maintenance and operation of lifting equipment.

In this Emerson Cranes blog, we aim to clarify a few key concepts.

What do LOLER regulations cover?

In broad terms, LOLER regulations stipulate the duties of care that people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment have. This is extensive to people or companies who make use of lifting equipment, even if they don’t own it.

LOLER regulations stipulate that all lifting operations involving lifting equipment must be:

  • Planned by a competent person
  • Supervised
  • Carried out with strict regard for safety

Lifting operations vary in their complexity, so it is important that all the risks of each operation are fully understood and that the planning is carried out by a person or persons whose level of expertise is appropriate for the task. For highly complex lifts, extremely detailed plans and records may be required, as well as a high level of supervision during the lifting operation.

When selecting the right machinery for a lift, LOLER stipulates that all equipment used for lifting is:

– Fit for purpose

– Suitable for the task to be undertaken

– Correctly marked

– Subjected to the corresponding inspections and examinations, with records being kept of all thorough examinations. Should any defects be found, these must be reported to the person responsible for the equipment and to the relevant authority.

When installing lifting equipment every care should be taken to ensure that it will pose the minimal risk possible. All risks should be assessed, including the possibility of the equipment or load falling or striking a person. Other risk factors should be considered such as ground stability and meteorological conditions.

The maximum load bearing capacity (Safe Working Load) of each piece of equipment to be used must be clearly marked. Some equipment and accessories may have different weight-bearing capacities when used in different configurations. All this information must be clearly reflected, as must any information that may affect an accessory´s safe operation, such as its weight or if it is unsafe for lifting people (should the equipment in question lend itself to confusion regarding this).

Thorough examination

In order to ensure that lifting equipment is safe for use, it must be thoroughly examined:

  • Before first use (save in the case that a Declaration of Conformity was issued within the last 12 months).
  • Upon installation, re-installation / assembly at another site
  • In the case of exposure to any conditions which may cause deterioration

What is a LOLER inspection?

A LOLER inspection involves a “thorough examination” of the lifting equipment in question. A competent person who is familiar with the machine and its operation must check it thoroughly for any defects. Should any be found, these must be reported to the person responsible for the equipment and the relevant enforcing authority.

Lifting equipment used at work must also comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). This requires that all equipment provided for use at work is:

  • Suitable and safe for the intended use
  • Is used by people who have undergone thorough training
  • Is fully maintained
  • Is accompanied by a relevant health and safety procedure

Lifting equipment must comply with both PUWER and LOLER regulations.

How often must LOLER inspections be carried out?

  • Every 6 months for lifting equipment and any accessories used to lift people
  • Every 6 months for all lifting accessories
  • Every 12 months for all other lifting equipment

Who is responsible for LOLER compliance?

The legal owner of any lifting equipment is considered the duty holder and is legally responsible for all maintenance, care, repairs and LOLER inspections.

At Emerson Cranes we fully understand the dangers of our work environment, which is why we highly value safety in everything we do.

If you are interested in crane hire from a company with an impeccable reputation for safety and quality, please get in touch. We provide crane hire throughout Essex and London and some of our machines are available nationwide. 

For all enquiries regarding our crane hire services, get in touch with us on 020 8059 2577 today. Our knowledgeable team will be happy to help.