Did you know that in the UK there are rules and regulations regarding how lifting equipment can be used? This is regulated by the government’s Health and Safety at Work Act. In 1998 the government introduced new regulations to the act called the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. The new regulations were introduced with the purpose of reducing the risk of injury of work-related accidents involving lifting operations and equipment.
The regulations feature several requirements that employers should always follow to keep their employees safe. It is the responsibility of the employer to avoid breaking the law. Failure to do so can lead to serious consequences and punishments. Not only may it result in injury or death to a person, but the company may end up having to pay a hefty fine. One of the most effective methods of enforcing these regulations is through a LOLER Inspection. This is where a competent inspector will carry out a thorough examination of the lifting equipment to make sure it remains up to the standard required while also assessing the procedures put in place by the employer. An inspection is a legal requirement that must be carried out every 6-12 months depending on the equipment type and risk assessment.
The regulations state that lifting equipment should be strong and stable enough for safe usage. The equipment must also be marked to indicate safe working loads and it should only be operated by a competent person who has received the necessary training. As mentioned previously, it must also be regularly examined to ensure it meets current safety standards.
There are several industries that must comply with LOLER, some of which we will discuss in this article. Ultimately, the regulations apply whenever a business requires the use of lifting equipment on its premises. One of the most obvious industries affected by these regulations is the construction sector. Construction firms use a variety of equipment for different purposes. Hoists may be used to transport personnel and materials across a multi-storey site, while cranes and excavators are often essential lifting devices. Potential hazards on a construction site are clear to see so it’s no surprise that firms must ensure that all the equipment works as intended and is operated by a trained professional. The risk of working at height is a particular danger where someone could fall to their death or sustain serious injuries or heavy items may cause a concern to people below should it become detached.
Another industry affected by LOLER is the agriculture industry. This is where tractor foreloaders, telehandlers, workshop hoists and more are commonly used. Nursing homes and hospitals may also be affected when a vulnerable patient needs to be moved. In fact, one of the widely publicised LOLER-related prosecutions occurred as a result of an elderly woman’s death at a nursing home in Liverpool. The woman fell while being lifted out of her bed and the health and safety executive determined that the sling had not been thoroughly examined every six months. We could list many more business sectors, but the fact is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations don’t only apply to a handle of individual industries. As long as the business uses lifting equipment to lift a person or object, then the regulations may apply to them.
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