LOLER Inspections & LOLER Testing
The Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
Health and safety is one of the most important factors for businesses to consider, especially workplaces that handle heavy materials and dangerous substances To keep everyone safe, working environments and practices are fully regulated by the government and professional bodies. Even for experienced professionals, the rules of what you should and should not do can be complex and overwhelming at times. To help explain what lifting operators should know, we've created an in-depth guide on LOLER, covering everything from what the regulations are to the requirement of LOLER inspections.
What is LOLER?
You may not already be aware of LOLER and what it means to you. However, if you work in an industry that involves heavy lifting, it’s vitally important to understand what the regulations mean. LOLER stands for the Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, a series of regulations created under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The UK government implemented the regulations to combat the risk of injury in the workplace for roles involving lifting equipment. Any job that requires equipment to lift or lower objects is defined under these regulations and it includes any attachments used to anchor, fix or support the equipment.
If you are an employer or self-employed providing lifting equipment at work or if you have control of the use of lifting equipment, it is your legal obligation to maintain said equipment. The Lifting Operations Equipment Regulations (LOLER) will apply to you. For instance, if your vehicle has a tail lift for handling goods, then you must ensure the lift is up to LOLER standards. The regulations list several requirements that must be achieved, and these are examined through regular LOLER inspections. Ultimately, LOLER aims to ensure that equipment is maintained and safe to use, and that trained employees operate the equipment in a suitable manner.
We do not only carry out LOLER inspections and LOLER testing on tail lifts. We also cover any piece of operating equipment that is required to comply with the LOLER regulations. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further details.
What Type of Equipment Need LOLER Inspections?
There are several types of lifting and manual handling equipment that may be bound by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. Whether you own lifting equipment or are loaning it, if the equipment is used on business premises, then LOLER will apply. This means that the equipment should have received a LOLER inspection within the specified timeframe and should be clearly marked with a Safe Working Load. Equipment may be used to lift people or heavy materials. Equipment should only be used for the purpose it was designed for. For instance, if a lift is not intended to carry a person, then this should be clearly marked and avoided. Similarly, the equipment should not hold materials that are too heavy.
At P. Airey Tail Lifts, we specialise in commercial vehicles that are used for heavy lifting purposes. If a vehicle is used in the workplace and has tools that allow it to be used for lifting jobs, then typically it would be regulated by LOLER. Below is a short summary list of some of the types of vehicles that may be required to follow the regulations and have regular LOLER inspections.
- Commercial transport vehicles with tail lifts
- Fork lift trucks
- Pallet trucks
- Recovery vehicles
This is not a definitive list of the vehicles or lifting equipment that are affected by LOLER, but simply a brief summary of the most popular types. For more information, please get in touch and one of our LOLER specialists will be able to advise you further.
How Does LOLER Affect Other Industries?
Our expertise of LOLER mainly involves commercial trucks used for various purposes, such as waste disposal and the transportation of goods, but we are fully up-to-date on the regulations as a whole and can assist with any inspection on a case-by-case basis. While LOLER can practically apply to any workplace, there are some industries where the rules are more prevalent. As we have already briefly explained, LOLER is particularly important for transporting goods from warehouses to retail stores and customer addresses. In an example such as this, lifting equipment such as tail lifts are used to lift goods in and out of a vehicle. Similarly, tail lifts are used to load and unload bins when disposing of waste with a bin lorry.
Another key industry that is regulated by LOLER is the construction sector. Construction work can be extremely dangerous no matter the size of the job. These type of working environments pose a range of significant health and safety hazards to employees, site visitors and the general public. The construction industry typically involves several lifting operations involving cranes, forklifts, scaffolding platforms, and so on. The forestry, agriculture and arboriculture sectors are also affected by LOLER. When moving and processing trees, vehicles with specialised lifting equipment may be used. Agriculture uses a range of equipment to cultivate soil, grow crops and raise livestock. Work involving arboriculture will often see people climb into trees, therefore safe and adequate equipment is needed to lift and support them.
How Does COVID-19 Affect LOLER?
As you will be aware, the United Kingdom is currently heavily affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease which has spread across the world. These are troubling times for us all and there are strict rules in place to prevent the virus from spreading further. With this in mind, you will likely have several questions about how the LOLER regulations and testing are affected. It's important to make clear that the regulations are still in place and you will receive heavy consequences for breaking the rules. The national healthcare system is currently struggling to cope with the demand of COVID-19 and now more than ever it's important to take the necessary steps to avoid serious accidents.
The pandemic situation is constantly changing and as of April 2021, society is slowly returning back to normal with the success of an ongoing vaccination programme. Some businesses are still required to remain closed and where possible, people are advised to work from home. There are several industries still functioning where LOLER may apply. This includes sectors such as haulage, healthcare, grocery retail and public transport which are essential for day-to-day living. You must follow the regulations to make sure that equipment is used appropriately and that the equipment is maintained to the minimum standards.
Have the Rules Been Relaxed Due to the Coronavirus?
As discussed previously, it is still your responsibility as an employer to make sure that you take all adequate precautions in order to keep your workplace safe for employees, site visitors and the general public. While there is another health and safety matter at the forefront, it's important not to get careless or let your guard down. That said, there is some acknowledgement that it may not be possible to fully adhere to the LOLER regulations.
In June, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provided an update on what is expected of businesses where LOLER would usually apply. The HSE has acknowledged that due to the pandemic and associated restrictions, businesses may find it challenging to conduct regular and thorough LOLER inspections and testing. Specifically, they state that there will naturally be difficulty in finding staff/contractor availability for preparing systems for LOLER examination, that there will be a backlog of inspections not conducted during the lockdown, and that engineers may refuse to enter a site should they deem the conditions not to be COVID-Secure. As a result, while employers should still take reasonable measures to stick to their inspection schedule, the HSE will now take a 'pragmatic and proportionate' approach when deciding on enforcement action. That said, it is still critical that lifting equipment should only be used if you deem it safe to do so, regardless of whether it has recently been thoroughly inspected or not.
Does LOLER Affect Me and My Business?
If you are involved in providing lifting equipment for work purposes, then LOLER affects you. Likewise, the regulations also affect you if your responsibilities include using the lifting equipment. Whether you are an employer or employee, the regulations are in place to ensure equipment is used safety. Your responsibility and liability should an accident occur will be dependent on your position within the business. Ultimately, you should go above and beyond to make sure that equipment is of the standards expected and being used correctly.
There is no specific industry where LOLER applies. Nor is there a certain type of lifting task that the regulations are restricted to. Whatever equipment you use, if a work task involves lifting and lowering loads, then LOLER will apply to you. In our particular expertise, LOLER applies to tail lifts. A tail lift is installed on the back of a vehicle to help workers load and unload whatever is stored inside the vehicle. It functions by lowering and elevating heavy loads for easy transporting to and from the vehicle. It's important that tail lifts receive regular LOLER inspections to check that they remain at the legal standard.
How Often Should You Undertake a LOLER Inspection?
The issue of whether a business meets the standards required of LOLER is determined by regular inspections and LOLER testing. Equipment deteriorates over time and personnel and procedures can often change, so a one-off inspection is inadequate. The frequency of a LOLER examination varies depending on certain criteria. At a minimum, equipment used for lifting/lowering persons and accessories should be tested every six months. Any other equipment should be tested at least every 12 months. The times may also differ should a competent person provide a different time scale. Equipment should always be inspected before it is first used and following significant repairs or component replacements. Performing a LOLER inspection is a legal requirement and it should only be carried out by a competent person.
What’s Involved in Planning a Lifting Operation?
As part of the LOLER regulations, the planning and organising of a lifting operation should be considered before the operation takes place. Due to the nature of a heavy lifting operation, improper planning can lead to serious injury and financial damage. A lifting operation should be planned by a competent person to ensure that it results in a safe and successful execution Operation should be planned based on a case-by-case basis, although minor operations that are performed regularly may require minimal planning.
When planning for a complex lifting operation, you should complete a thorough document that addresses any risks associated with the operation. This can include elements such as attaching/detaching loads, visibility, proximity hazards, risks of overturning and overloading, working under suspended loads, and more. You should identify how the risks will be controlled and who will be responsible for each element of the operation. The risk assessment should also detail the strength and stability of the equipment, how the equipment is installed and positioned, and whether direct supervision is required. Accidents that occur as a result of a lack of adequate planning may lead you to be responsible and liable for prosecution.
Who Is Deemed to Be a 'Competent Person'?
Under the LOLER regulations, there are several instances where a 'competent person' is referred to. This can include the workers who will perform a lifting operation and the inspectors who will examine the lifting equipment and procedures to ensure that the regulations are correctly adhered to. Depending on the scale of a lifting operation, there may be numerous people involved. This involves planning, organising and undertaking the operation. At every stage, a competent person should be involved. Their level of competence will be determined by their individual skills, training, knowledge and experience. It all boils down to whether the person has the expertise required to safely and correctly do their duty in relation to executing the specific operation. When it comes to performing the operation, the person using the lifting equipment is one of the most important roles to consider as their direct actions can cause the operation to go wrong. In referring to the earlier point, operators should possess the necessary skills, training and experience, particularly for the specific operation that is planned. If they haven't been trained to use a forklift truck, for example, they should not yet be deemed to be competent for an operation involving the use of a forklift truck.
When it comes to LOLER inspections and testing, the frequency of the examination is first of all determined by a competent person. The competent person should then perform their duties as an inspector, carrying out a thorough and detailed examination and using their judgement to determine the scope of each LOLER inspection. Ultimately, a LOLER inspector should use good judgement and their professional experience to make calculated decisions about what is inspected and when. It is their responsibility as an inspector to make sure that the use of lifting equipment in the workplace is being correctly regulated, ensuring that accidents as a result of deteriorating equipment or incorrect usage are prevented. In this instance, a competent person means that the inspector should have adequate experience and knowledge which enables them to understand what they should look out for when carrying out an inspection. It should be in their capability to identify any defects or weaknesses that could potentially fall foul of LOLER. It is not required that the inspector works for another company as long as they are sufficiently independent and impartial, as per the Health and Safety Executive.
What Records Should be Kept Under LOLER?
There are several records that should be detained under LOLER. These records are vital for documenting the inspections of heavy lifting equipment and ensuring equipment is safe to use and maintained to the required standard.
One document that should be retained is a Thorough Examination Report. This report is provided by a competent inspector following a LOLER inspection. The report will assess whether the regulations are being complied with and outline any equipment defects and further steps that may be required.
Another document to keep hold of is an EC Declaration of Conformity. This is a written statement that confirms the equipment meets safety requirements and is safe to use. Last of all, you should keep records of any inspections or tests that may take place in between a LOLER inspection. While LOLER examinations are required every 6-12 months, in between this period there may be additional inspection requirements as outlined by the equipment's manufacturer or your organisation.
What Does a LOLER Inspection Include?
Extensive check to ensure lift is fit for purpose & appropriately marked
Establish correct procedures are being used safely
Subject to statutory periodic thoroughly examined
The Key LOLER Regulations
LOLER is a complex piece of legalisation that was introduced by the UK government in 1998. The complete legalisation includes 17 formal regulations which can be found on the official government website here. Below is a list of some of the key regulations that you should be aware of.
4) Strength and stability - 5) Lifting equipment for lifting persons - 6) Positioning and installation - 7) Marking of lifting equipment - 8) Organisation of lifting operations - 9) Thorough examination and inspection - 10) Reports and defects - 11) Keeping of information
What Does the Process of a LOLER Test Involve?
When you choose P. Airey Tail Lifts for your LOLER inspection needs, you can rest assured that we will help you comply with the regulations to the best of our ability. We know the ins and outs of the legal requirements, starting with the need for regular inspections. We know how important it is for our customers to keep on top of their inspection schedule which is why we keep track ourselves. The process of an inspection, first and foremost, starts with knowing when an inspection is due by. We will notify customers when an inspection is due and then work with them to book an inspection date and time that is suitable for them.
When an inspection has been pencilled in, our team of specialists will arrive at the pre-arranged time. Under the LOLER requirements, we will only send an inspector that meets the 'competent person' criteria. The inspector will then perform a thorough LOLER examination of the lifting equipment, such as putting a lift through its functions to identify if there is anything wrong with the lift. We will then remove the covers in order to do an in-depth check on all moving parts and examine the overall condition of the equipment and electrics. Finally, we will lubricate the lift before cleaning down.
After an inspection of the equipment has been performed, we will then write out a LOLER certificate which certifies that a regular inspection has been completed. The certificate will include a description of any faults that we have found and whether they require fixing immediately, within one month or by the next inspection date. We will also provide the equipment with a sticker that states the date of the LOLER inspection and when it expires.
Consequences of Avoiding a LOLER Inspection
Failing to carry out regular LOLER inspections can lead to severe consequences. The regulations are in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone, including the general public. If you don’t take the necessary steps to thoroughly examine the use of heavy lifting equipment at your workplace, you can be held responsible should a serious injury occur. Breaching the regulations can lead to heavy fines which can be extremely damaging to your business and hurt your reputation. In more serious cases it can even lead to imprisonment.
Examples of Punishment for LOLER Accidents
LOLER was brought in to reduce the risk of workplace accidents by implementing serious punishments for businesses who fail to meet the regulations. As well as dealing with the death or serious injury of a person, businesses face fines and possible imprisonment.
In 2016 a company director was sentenced to jail for 12 months, ordered to pay £4,000 and disqualified from registering as a director for seven years. The director was judged to be responsible for the death of an employee who died when a spider lift overturned on him. The employee did not receive adequate training and no risk assessment was put in place.
In 2018 a port operating company was fined £300,000 due to an accident that left an employee with serious injuries. The employee was hurt by a load falling and sustained multiple fractures, lacerations, ligament reconstruction and more injuries which left him unable to return to work. In 2019 a large electrical company was fined £334,000 following the death of a crane operator. The business was found to have not provided adequate training to the operator and failed to ensure the lift was properly planned and supervised.
Make sure you don't fall foul of the LOLER regulations. Get an inspection today and avoid a costly consequence.
Why Choose P. Airey for LOLER Inspections?
By choosing P. Airey for your LOLER inspections, you will be taking the necessary steps to ensuring your business is compliant with the regulations. Our engineers are fully qualified to carry out LOLER examinations, making sure that your safety standards are at the highest level. We possess decades of experience and are committed to delivering a professional LOLER testing service. We offer mobile coverage and can perform a LOLER inspection anywhere in the North West and North Wales.
If your business involves operating a pallet truck, please visit our page on pallet truck LOLER inspections.
LOLER Inspection Testimonials
Here's what our customers have to say about our LOLER inspections and LOLER testing service...
"Looked after our small fleets HGV tail lift servicing and loler inspections for over a year now and I really can't recommend them enough, Professional service, Exceptional knowledge, today went above and beyond to get to, and repair one of our vehicles within an hour.....Superb." - Ant O on Google
Book a UK LOLER Inspection
Hopefully this in-depth guide on LOLER inspections and LOLER testing has persuaded you of the importance of LOLER. It is a vital piece of legislation that maintains the safety of employees and the general public, and the consequences of not doing so are extreme. At P. Airey Tail Lifts, we are experts in this area. We can help provide a thorough LOLER inspection and testing service throughout the UK, with a speciality in North West areas such as Liverpool, Birkenhead, Warrington and Manchester. To book an inspection, or if you would like to know more about the regulations and how it affects you, please contact us to speak to a LOLER specialist.