All workplaces are subject to health and safety regulations, but there are specific regulations that apply to lifting equipment. Any manager, business owner or worker who utilises lifting equipment must be aware of these regulations and adhere to them at all times. By doing so, you can minimise the risk of accidents occurring and help to ensure no one is injured while carrying out their duties.
What Are Lifting Equipment Regulations?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the 1992 Manual Handling Regulations are all highly relevant if your workplace uses lifting equipment, regardless of whether it’s on an ad hoc or regular basis.
However, it is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) that are, perhaps, the most relevant guidance when it comes to using and maintaining lifting equipment. Due to this, it’s vital that every worker who utilises lifting equipment has a good understanding of what LOLER entails.
What Is LOLER?
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 were created by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and apply to ‘people or companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment’.
When lifting equipment is used, the LOLER regulations require that:
- Proper planning is undertaken
- Sufficiently competent people are used
- Workers are supervised appropriately
- Activities are carried out in a safe manner
While this may sound like relatively straightforward guidance, it’s important to understand the details of each requirement. For example, what constitutes adequate planning, who is deemed a competent person and what level of supervision is required?
According to the HSE, risk identification and assessment is the ‘key to identifying the most appropriate method and equipment for the job’. However, the complexity of the lifting operation will affect what level of planning is required. In some cases, minimal training (by competent workers’) may be sufficient, whereas some complex lifting operations may require extensive planning, expert input and detailed recordkeeping.
When planning lifting operations, there are various factors that should be considered, such as:
- Proximity hazards
- Pre-use checking
To be deemed competent in accordance with LOLER regulations, the individual must have appropriate theoretical and practical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment so that they are able to detect weaknesses or defects. Furthermore, the individual should be able to accurately assess how important potential weaknesses or defects are in relation to the continued use and safety of the equipment.
Taking dedicated training courses and obtaining relevant certifications can help to ensure that workers are recognised as ‘competent’ under the LOLER regulations.
Again, the level of supervision required may vary depending on the nature of the lifting operations. In some instances, employers may use CCTV to continuously monitor workers using lifting equipment, for example, while complex lifting operations may be overseen by third-party experts and assessors.
Using any equipment safely is essential if injuries are to be avoided and this is particularly true when it comes to potentially dangerous lifting equipment. With adequate training, workers can learn how to engage safely with this equipment, so that the risk of accidents and damage is reduced.
Using Lifting Equipment Safely
As well as ensuring that planning, competence, supervision and a safe manner are implemented when lifting equipment is used, LOLER regulations also require you to assess various factors, such as the suitability of the equipment being used, its strength and stability and safe positioning and installation.
Additionally, lifting equipment should have visible markings to indicate warnings, labels and identifying information, including safe working loads.
Training and ‘legible instructions’ must also be provided to relevant workers before lifting equipment is utilised and additional requirements must be adhered to if lifting equipment is being used to lift or lower people, for example.
Keeping Lifting Equipment Safe and Functional
As well as determining who is eligible to carry out operations using equipment, lifting equipment regulations also extend to the equipment itself. Under LOLER regulations, lifting equipment must be ‘thoroughly examined’ in various instances, including:
- Prior to its first use (unless a valid Declaration of Conformity has been issued less than 12 months earlier).
- When installation, assembly or re-assembly has occurred (either at the same or different site).
- Following exposure to conditions that may cause deterioration, which is liable to result in danger.
- Following exceptional circumstances, such as a malfunction.
When thorough examinations are carried out, records should be made and kept. In addition to this, any defects that are identified must be reported to the individual using the equipment (as well as the individual from whom it has been hired or leased, if applicable), and the appropriate enforcing authority (such as the HSE or the Local Authority).
What Equipment Is Subject to LOLER?
The LOLER regulations apply to lifting equipment that is used at work. Equipment that is used for lifting or lowering loads typically falls under the definition of ‘lifting equipment’, but attachments that are used to support, fix or anchor the lifting equipment are also subject to LOLER regulations.
Equipment that falls under LOLER includes (but is not limited to):
- Scissor lifts
- Climbing or positioning ropes
- Construction hoists
- Vehicle tail lifts
- Workplace goods and passenger lifts
- Vehicle lifts
- Telehandlers and industrial lift trucks
Servicing and Repairs by Premier Lift Trucks
Regular servicing can help to protect the integrity of forklifts and, therefore, reduce the risk of accidents and malfunctions. Furthermore, a regular service schedule can help you to adhere to lifting equipment regulations and avoid related penalties and legal action.
At Premier Lift Trucks, we offer regular fork lift servicing and repairs, so it’s easy to ensure your lifting equipment is kept in tip-top condition. Whether you’re using a single fork lift or a fleet of vehicles, our experienced engineers are on hand to provide professional servicing, maintenance and repairs.