Lifting Equipment Safety – What Are My Obligations?

We've covered the technical aspects of LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) in another blog, but there might still be some nagging doubts about what exactly covered by the regulations, and what you, as an employer, need to do in order to ensure you comply.

Of course, it's not just a matter of compliance to the letter of the regulations, the idea is that by thinking about safety in the workplace, especially the safety of your employees, you'll create a better working environment.

Who do the lifting equipment regulations apply to?

There is some confusion about who needs to apply these regulations in some companies, when in reality, everyone who either provides or uses lifting equipments needs to take heed.

Essentially, if you're an employer, or you're self employed and you provide lifting equipment for use in the workplace then the regulations apply.

Also, it's not just down to the employer to enforce the regulations, it's also down to the operator, so if you have control of the equipment - you're also bound by them.

Of course, this doesn't mean you're off the hook if you have no direct involvement.

As an employee or employer of a company, you also have duties under the Health and

Safety at Work act, meaning you should always be on the look out for potential safety issues.

Any workplace where the Health and Safety at Work act applies, LOLER does too, be it factories, farms, offices, hospitals etc.

What equipment is covered by the regulations?

The definition of lifting equipment is necessarily broad.

Anything that is used for lifting or lowering loads is covered, as are any attachments used for fixing or supporting it.

Because of this, all cranes, forklift trucks, hoists or vehicle inspection equipment are all covered.

It also includes accessories, so things like slings, bolts etc.

Should an employee bring their own equipment into the workplace, that is also covered, so you should put procedures in place to ensure they're safe to use, too.

What do I need to do?

Like any Health and Safety procedures, the regulations are clear and easy to understand, and mostly boil down to common sense and general safe practice.

Specifically, the regulations state that any equipment that is used for lifting is strong enough, stable enough and suitable for the use.

Very often this means that you should always use equipment that has been designed specifically for the job at hand. Trying to use equipment that was not designed for the role, could lead to a safety issue.
Also, anything attached to the equipment must also be safe and suitable for the role. So any lifting points or platforms used must be attached correctly and able to perform their required duty.

Another consideration is where the equipment is used, in effect, its positioning to the job.

If the load were to fall, has every precaution been taken to ensure it doesn't hit people on the way down?

Is the lifting platform suitably close enough to the job so that the operator doesn't have to over-reach to perform the required maintenance?

And finally, are their visible markings warning people about the use of safety equipment?

Do they indicate the safe working loads?

There's also the issue of maintenance.

The first time equipment is used, has it been thoroughly examined, and do all operators

have the required training to ensure they are competent in its operation? Importantly, do they have knowledge of the safety procedures should something go wrong?

If problems are found with any equipment, it is important that a report is submitted to the employer to take action, and remedy the situation before the equipment is used.

The LOLER regulations go into far more detail about the requirements of employers and employees to ensure safety is at the forefront every time lifting equipment is used.

However, for complete peace of mind, Worlifts offer full training, maintenance and inspection packages to keep your workplace safe.

Call us today, and let us take the load off your mind.