LOLER – Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 – are regulations requiring periodic thorough examinations of lifts and lifting equipment by a competent person at regular intervals. The main purpose of LOLER is to ensure the safe provision and use of lifts and lifting equipment.
LOLER applies to a range of lifts and lifting equipment, such as passenger and goods lifts, stairlifts, hoists, platform lifts, vehicle lifts, tail lifts, cranes, forklifts, service lifts (dumbwaiters), lifting accessories (chains, slings, hooks, etc.), and many more.
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LOLER only applies to lifts/lifting equipment which are used at work. However, if these are used by the public and third parties, then they come under the Health & Safety at Work Act, and should be thoroughly examined and inspected for safety of use and operation, according to the standards set in the LOLER and PUWER regulations.
Under LOLER, the responsibility lies with the dutyholder, who is a lift owner, facilities manager, or person responsible for the lift. If you are one of those, you are responsible for the safe operation of the lift. Basically, this means that you have a legal responsibility to ensure that the lift is thoroughly examined by a competent person at regular intervals and that it is safe to use.
The dutyholder is legally responsible for:
· Ensuring that the lift/lifting equipment is being maintained on a regular basis
· Selecting and instructing the competent person to carry out the LOLER examination
· Ensuring that the lift is examined at statutory intervals (generally every 6 months for passenger lifts/lifting equipment and 12 for goods-only lifts/lifting equipment)
· Informing the competent person of any changes in the lift operating conditions
· Acting promptly to remedy any defects
· Making documentation available to the competent person
· Ensuring that all documentation complies with LOLER
· Keeping records of LOLER reports
A competent person is somebody who has sufficient technical and practical knowledge of lifting equipment, who is able to detect defects or weaknesses and can assess how significant those are for the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that the competent person should be sufficiently impartial and independent in order to make an objective assessment. It is not advisable to use the same person to perform routine maintenance and also carry out thorough examinations, as they would then essentially be assessing their own work. That is why it is important that the thorough examination is carried out by a third party who is impartial and independent.
No. Maintenance should not be confused with a thorough examination. Maintenance involves replacing worn or damaged parts, topping up fluid levels and making routine adjustments in order to ensure that risks are avoided. A thorough examination under LOLER, although it may overlap with certain aspects of maintenance work, is a safety inspection and risk assessment. It acts as a check that maintenance is being carried out properly and determines if the lift/lifting equipment is safe to use. It is to lifts/lifting equipment what an M.O.T. is to cars.
A thorough examination under LOLER is a systematic and detailed inspection of lifts/lifting equipment by a competent person to identify defects which are or may become dangerous. The competent person reports the findings of the examination to the dutyholder. If a defect is serious and significant, the competent person is legally required to send a copy of the report to the enforcing authority.
A LOLER examination has to take place at regular intervals. Generally every 6 months for passenger lifts/lifting equipment and 12 months for goods-only lifts and lifting equipment. However, there are exceptions, such as lifting accessories that require a LOLER inspection every 6 months, and plants that may be subject to a different inspection schedule, as determined by the competent person.
A report of thorough examination should include:
· The name and the address of the dutyholder the inspection is being carried out for
· The date of the last inspection and the date when the next inspection is due by
· The safe working load of the lift/lifting equipment
· The reason for the thorough examination (i.e. statutory interval, following installation, according to an examination scheme, etc.)
· Any defect which is or may become dangerous
· Details of repair, renewal or alteration required to remedy the defect and the date by which this should be done
· Details of the tests carried out
· Details of the person creating the report and the person validating it.
The duty-holder should ensure that all the above information is contained in the report before accepting it.
Records should be kept for 2 years after they are issued. It is advisable to keep records in hardcopy and softcopy format. They should be made available for the consideration of the health and safety inspector as and when required.