Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98)
These regulations apply to all premises and all work situations subject to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act and build on the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98). They replace the Construction (Lifting Equipment) Regulations 1961 and came into force for all lifting equipment on 5th December 1998.
The regulations cover a wide range of lifting appliances which include powered and non-powered equipment used to raise and lower people, or loads, such as: cranes, winches, pulleys, gin-wheels, hoists, lifts, jacks, excavators, draglines etc. Also included are attachments for anchoring, fixing or supporting the equipment and accessories that attach the load to the machine.
LOLER applies to all lifting equipment being used on the site whether owned directly, by a sub-contractor working on the site or whether hired in to do a particular job. It attaches responsibilities to employers, owners, the self-employed and users of the equipment.
- Employers (whether individuals, partnerships or companies) have a duty to ensure that lifting equipment provided for use by their employees and the self-employed complies with the Regulations.
- The self-employed must comply with the same duties in respect of lifting equipment they use at work.
- The regulations also apply to employers who choose to allow employees to provide their own lifting equipment.
- Crane hire companies have a duty to ensure that when a mobile crane is hired out, physical evidence accompanies it (ie a copy of the last inspection report) and the user should ensure that this evidence is available. After the installation of a tower crane the user should ensure that it is thoroughly examined by a competent person before it is put into use. Normally the Hire Company will do this, particularly if they erect the crane.
- The user has a duty to manage the lifting operations in a safe manner and also ensure that periodic examinations laid down by LOLER are carried out.
- In circumstances where an organisation enters into a contract with a third party to provide a crane and an operator the crane owners have a duty to ensure that the crane is properly maintained, examined and safe to use and that lifting operations are carried out safely.
Suitability of Lifting Equipment
Every employer must ensure that work equipment is suitable for the purpose for which it is used. This should be looked at from three aspects.
- Its initial integrity
- The place where it will be used
- The purpose for which it will be used
Equipment selected for use should be made of materials that are suitable for the conditions under which it will be used. Safe means of access to and egress from the lifting equipment must be provided. Where such equipment is used to provide a platform it should be adequately fenced with suitable edge protection.
Where the environment in which the lifting equipment is being used may adversely affect operators adequate protection must be provided. Where lifting equipment or its load may be affected by high wind appropriate devices should be fitted to detect dangerous situations and allow measures to be taken to cease using the equipment.
Strength and stability
All lifting equipment must be of adequate strength and stability for each load having particular regard for the stress induced at its mounting or fixing point.
Lifting equipment used for lifting persons
Employers should ensure that such equipment is such as to prevent persons using it being crushed, trapped, struck or falling from the carrier. It must have suitable devices to prevent a carrier falling and it must ensure that a person trapped in any carrier is not exposed to danger and can be freed.
Positioning and installation
Lifting equipment must be installed so as to reduce as low as practicable the risk of the equipment or the load striking a person or of the load drifting, falling freely or being released unintentionally.
Organisation of lifting operations
Every employer shall ensure that every lifting operation is planned by a competent person, is appropriately supervised and is carried out in a safe manner.
The safety devices and testing arrangements required in the regulations are complex but can be summarised as follows:
- A test and thorough examination must be carried out before the first use of the lifting appliance and when it is assembled for use on a new site.
- The Safe Working Load (SWL) must be specified and marked on the lifting appliance.
- If the lifting device has several SWLs, eg a jib crane, some means must be found to provide information to the operator on the various SWLs. This can be by means of a table of information in the cab.
- An automatic safe load indicator must be fitted to cranes having an SWL of one tonne or more.
- Lifting appliances must be thoroughly examined every 12 months.
- All lifting appliances should be tested every week.
A report of the thorough examination must be provided to the employer or any person from whom the appliance has been hired or leased. It must be in the laid down format and must be kept available for inspection.
The regulations also include lifting gear. This can be defined as equipment used to connect a load to a lifting device such as: chains, ropes, chain sling, wire rope sling, fibre sling, shackles, swivels, eye bolts, etc. The requirements of the regulations are:
- All such gear must be certificated before use to confirm test (or in the case of fibre slings to specify the safe working load).
- All lifting equipment for lifting person or accessories for lifting must be thoroughly examined every six months.
- Slings and other lifting gear must not be used for operations for which they were not intended and must not be altered or adapted by unsafe methods (knots, bolts through links etc).
- Sufficient material must be provided for packing between sling and load.
- Training in safe slinging methods and signalling systems etc. must be provided to operatives carrying out this work.