There is nothing more important in the workplace than health and safety. Business operations can run smoothly and efficiently while ensuring that employees can work in confidence without worrying about possible accidents. The Health and Safety at Work Act safeguards employees, employers and the general public against potential risks and consequences. The act presents a series of laws and guidance to maintain health, safety, and well-being while at work and enforce punishments if regulations are broken.
While the Health and Safety at Work Act is broad legislation covering all industries, there are also distinct regulations contained within. Certain sectors have more hazards than others, including ones that involve a lot of heavy lifting. Workplaces that use specialist lifting equipment to carry out lifting operations must navigate a wide range of health and safety risks. It is for this reason that LOLER was introduced to regulate the safe use of lifting equipment.
Our first blog post will offer further insight into how LOLER works and how it affects you. Our experts on the topic will describe what LOLER is and the various ways in which it can benefit your workforce.
LOLER stands for the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. The government put the regulations in place in 1998 to reduce the number of serious injuries caused by accidents from using heavy lifting equipment. Ultimately, the regulations control what lifting equipment can be used and how it is operated. Under LOLER, lifting equipment can include anything used to lift or lower significant loads, along with any attachments used to anchor or support the equipment. However, it should be noted that it only applies to equipment used for work purposes. For example, in our specialist area, LOLER would apply to commercial vehicle tail lifts. Forklift trucks, cranes and recovery vehicles are other examples of where the regulations would relate.
A critical element of LOLER is that lifting equipment should be of a good standard and in working condition. Equipment will always deteriorate and break over time, and if it is not functioning correctly, it can cause a malfunction followed by a serious accident. This potential risk is why the regulations aim to keep equipment maintained and in working order. Lifting equipment is required to undertake regular LOLER inspections, usually every 6-12 months. The inspections will examine the status of equipment and how it is used. Another important aspect of LOLER is how lifting operations are performed. Workers should only use heavy lifting equipment if they are trained and qualified to do so. Operations need to be properly planned and supervised. If something goes wrong and the Health and Safety Executive determines that the regulations have not been applied, employees and their employers can be held responsible.
The first question to ask yourself is, why do you need to follow LOLER? The regulations are law and not simply optional guidance that you can choose to follow or ignore. If you fail to follow the regulations, such as not undergoing frequent inspections, you may face heavy punishment. Consequences for you can include a fine, suspension from operating a business, or even imprisonment. Punishments are understandably more severe if an accident occurs. As well as legal consequences, you face damaging repercussions to your reputation and revenue. Most serious of all, if someone is injured or dies from an accident, you will live with it for the rest of your life. It should be quite clear that none of this is worth it just to ignore health and safety procedures.
LOLER is not just about ticking off some boxes and keeping the Health and Safety Executive happy. The core purpose of the regulations is to maintain the safety of workers and non-workers alike. This goal should be more than enough to warrant complying with LOLER. If people are protected from accidents, you live in peace knowing that you have played a part in ensuring a safe working environment. Following the regulations to the best of your ability can also lead to a happier and more productive workforce. Employees will benefit from knowing that they can come to work without worrying about sustaining injuries from an accident. Industries involved in heavy lifting can be dangerous, so you must always go above and beyond to keep people safe and secure.
For more information, don’t forget to visit our in-depth LOLER Inspections guide.
Does your company use heavy lifting equipment for day-to-day operations? If the answer is yes, then it’s imperative that you comply with LOLER! We are experts in this area and will work with you to carry out regular inspections. Please contact us to find out more about the regulations and to book your first inspection.