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Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

This guidance note follows the sequence and structure or LOLER 98 and explains each of the 17 regulations in turn. Using extracts from the Approved Code of Practice.

The LOLER Regulations consists of 17 regulations-

  1. Citation and commencement.

Cite the power of the regulation and the commencement date from when the Regulations are enforceable:

LOLER 98 were made under the Health and Safety of Work etc. Act 1974 (HSW Act) and came into force on the 5th December 1998.

LOLER 98 implement the lifting provisions of AUWED. The Regulations apply in all premises and work situations subject to the HSW Act and build on the requirements of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

LOLER 98 applies to any item of lifting equipment including existing equipment, second-hand or leased equipment and new equipment.

The Regulations are primarily aimed at the type if equipment which was covered by previous lifting regulation, ie cranes, lifts, hoists, and components including chains, ropes, slings, hooks, shackles and eyebolts.

However, LOLER now applies in whichever industry this range of equipment is used in including those, such as agriculture which were not covered by specific regulations.

  1. Interpretation

Covers the definitions of clauses, statements and words within the document.

Some of the appropriate definitions contained in Regulation 2 are as follows:

“lifting equipment” means work equipment for lifting and lowering loads and includes its attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it;

“load” includes a person;

“accessory for lifting“ means work equipment for attaching loads to machinery for lifting;

“employer” includes a person to whom the requirements imposed by these regulations apply;

“examination scheme” means a suitable scheme drawn up by a competent person for thorough examination of lifting equipment at such intervals as may be appropriate to its use” Reference Regulation 9 (3);

“thorough examination” means a thorough examination by a competent person; including where it is appropriate to carry out testing that the tests are carried out by a competent person;

Competent person is not defined in the regulations. However, the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), Regulation 9 states that:

You should ensure that the person carrying out a thorough examination has such appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined as will enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment.

In the context of the Assistive Technology marketplace, LOLER applies to a range of lifting equipment which present risks similar to those associated with ‘traditional’ equipment. Some of those are as follows, please note this list is not exhaustive:

Ceiling track hoists
Standing and Raising aids
Mobile wheeled hoists
Bath Lifts (including portable and bath side)
Accessories such as slings are also covered.

The definition of lifting equipment is suitably vague, as a guide, the ACOP suggests that, in most cases, LOLER will not apply to any equipment which does not have as its principal function a use for lifting or lowering.

  1. Application

Covers where the regulations are enforceable, what they cover and to whom they are applicable. This regulation also includes the suitability of lifting equipment 4(1)-(2) from the PUWER Regulations.

It applies to all workplaces and work situations where the HSW Act applies and extends outside Great Britain to certain offshore activities in British territorial waters and on the UK Continental Shelf.

The regulations apply to employers, self-employed and persons in control to any extent of: -
Lifting equipment.
A person at work who uses or supervises or manages the use of work equipment.
The way in which work equipment is used.

The Regulations also apply to any employer who allows employees to provide their own lifting equipment.

LOLER only applies to work activities. It does not apply to persons who provide equipment for use by the public.

The ACOP carries a specific example as follows:

“As hoists used to lift patients, eg from beds and baths, in hospitals and Care Homes are provided for use at work and are lifting equipment to which LOLER applies, the duty holder, i.e. the NHS Trust running the hospital or the owner of the Care Home must satisfy their duties under LOLER.

  1. Strength and stability

Covers the requirements ensuring that the lifting equipment has the strength and stability to lift the load safely.

If any employer expects their employee to use lifting equipment, then they have a duty of care to ensure that equipment is; -

Sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for the proposed use, including any attachments or fixtures taking the load.

Positioned or installed to prevent the risk of injury.

  1. Lifting Equipment used for lifting persons

This regulation goes further than regulation 4 by considering the hazards associated with lifting persons; making sure that they are not crushed, struck, trapped, or fall during when they are being lifted in a carrier, or when they are using the carrier.

This Regulation is predominantly aimed at lifts and crane attachments for the lifting of persons and covers the provision of safety features such as doors, cages and alarm mechanism’s for summoning assistance.

The term “carrier” is a generic term used to describe the device that supports people while being lifted or lowered.

There is a reference in the ACOP to the need for daily inspections, by a competent person, of certain equipment such as a cradle lifted by a crane. Although this is not specific to the AT marketplace, advise is generally offered that carers and users of equipment have a duty of care and that they should visibly check equipment prior to use to ensure that it is in a safe condition to use.

6 Positioning and installation
This covers the requirements for the positioning and installation of the lifting equipment to reduce the risk of the lifting equipment or load striking a person or of a load drifting, falling or of a load drifting, falling or being released unintentionally.

The Regulation specifies that it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that equipment is installed or positioned correctly to reduce the risk.

Installation of the equipment relates specifically to equipment which is assembled at the place of use, while positioning refers to Mobile equipment.

7 Marking of lifting equipment

Covers what markings are required on the lifting equipment.

Compliance with the Regulation is the responsibility of the employer, he is required to ensure that all lifting equipment is clearly marked to indicate the safe working load.

Where the safe working load is affected by the configuration of the equipment, then the equipment must be marked to indicate its safe working load in each configuration.

Accessories for lifting, such as slings, must also be marked with their SWL.

The method of marking is not stated.

8 Organisation of lifting operations

This covers the requirements for lifting operations to be properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out safely.

The Regulation states that every employer shall ensure that every lifting operation involving lifting equipment is properly planned by a competent person; appropriately supervised; and carried out in a safe manner.

The person planning the operation should have sufficient practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of planning lifting operations. The plan is normally, dependent upon the operation and equipment, made up of 2 parts:

  1. Initial planning considering the load to be lifted; its weight, shape, centre of gravity, the environment, where the load is moving to and from and who will be carrying out the operation and their knowledge, training and experience.
  1. Planning of the individual lifting operations which would normally assess the weight, select the correct accessories, check the route, take off and landing points, fit the sling to the load and perform the operation.

The use of a patient hoist is considered a “routine” lifting operation. This means that an initial lifting plan may only be required once, although it should be reviewed regularly to ensure that nothing has changed and the ‘plan’ remains valid. The planning of the individual lifting operation will normally be a matter for the carer.

The employer should ensure that any lifting accessories used for securing the loads are compatible with the load, taking into account the attachment points on the load, the environmental conditions and the configuration for use.

The ACOP recommends that the employer should ensure that employees have appropriate training and instructions so that they are able to ensure that the lifting equipment is safe to use.

The employer is required under PUWER, Regulation 5 to maintain work equipment in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in a good state of repair. The requirement is such that accessories are required to be stored in a way that does not damage them and in an environment that prevents deterioration.

9. Thorough examination and inspection

This covers what is to be examined, tested, the examination scheme, the frequency and by whom.

Every employer is required to ensure that before a piece of lifting equipment is put into service for the first time, it is thoroughly inspected for any defect unless:

  1. the equipment has not been used before and the employer has received an EC declaration of conformity made not more than 12 months before the equipment is put into service; or
  2. if the equipment has been received from another person, it is accompanied by physical evidence of its last thorough examination.

If the installation conditions affect safety, the employer is required to ensure that the equipment is thoroughly inspected after installation and before use for the first time.

Ongoing thorough examination is required to ensure that lifting equipment remains safe for use. In the case of lifting equipment for the lifting of persons or an accessory, a thorough examination is required at least every 6 months, or in accordance with an examination scheme.

Additional thorough examinations are required each time exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the lifting equipment have occurred.

In addition, employers are required to ensure that no lifting equipment leaves his undertaking or is received from another person’s undertaking unless it is accompanied by physical evidence of its last thorough examination.

All thorough examinations should be carried out by a competent person who is sufficiently independent and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made.

Testing of equipment during thorough examination is not a specific requirement of the regulation. The ACOP states that the competent person should decide whether a test is necessary. Chiltern Invadex recommends a load test because the inner workings of sealed gearboxes are not accessible for a visual inspection. Also, BS EN 10535, the standard for hoists for the transfer of disabled persons recommends a load test at 12 month intervals.

An examination scheme may be drawn up by; the user, owner, manufacturer or an independent third party provided that they have the necessary competence. It should identify the parts of the lifting equipment that should be thoroughly examined and the intervals between examinations. The examination scheme should take account of the condition of the lifting equipment, its environment and the number of operations and the loads lifted.

The examination scheme need not be stored in the form of a written document, it does however have to be capable of being reproduced as a written copy when required; it should be secured from loss or unauthorised modification and must be authenticated by the competent person preparing the scheme.

The employer is responsible for advising the competent person of any changes that may affect the scheme so that the frequency and nature of examinations may be reviewed.

10 Reports and defects

Covers the requirements of the employer and the examiner to ensure defects are recorded reported and acted upon and to whom they are notified.

A person making a through examination should notify the employer immediately of any defect which in his opinion is or could become a danger to persons.

A written examination report is required to be supplied to the employer and any person who is responsible for hiring or leasing the equipment.

Where a defect is detected which poses an immediate or imminent risk of serious personal injury, a report is required to be made to the relevant enforcing authority. In the case of Chiltern Invadex carrying out the examination, this report will be made by Head Office.

An employer notified of a defect likely to cause a danger to persons is required to ensure that the lifting equipment is not used until the defect is rectified.

The ACOP suggest that it is reasonable to provide the written report of examination within a period of 28 days.

Defects should be notified and documented on the examination report, even if the equipment is not going to be used again, eg when it is going to be immediately scrapped. The duty to report defects also applies even where repairs are going to be carried out immediately. Effectively, the report is of the condition of equipment prior to the repair.

11 Keeping of information

Covers what documentation is required to be kept, by whom and for how long.

Where an EC Declaration of conformity is received by the employer, he is required to keep it for the life of the equipment.

Examination reports are to be kept for the following periods of time:

  1. Before first use examination reports of the lifting equipment should be kept by the employer until he ceases to use the equipment. This applies to both installed and free standing equipment.
  2. Before first use examination reports of lifting accessories should be kept by the employer for a minimum two years after the report was made.
  3. Ongoing examination reports should be kept by the employer until the next examination report is received or for a period of 2 years whichever is later.

Reports and EC declaration of conformity should be readily available for inspectors from the enforcing authority should they wish to see them. This information may be kept in hard copy form, stored electronically or on a computer disk. If on a computer system, it must be secure against unauthorised alteration and must be able to be reproduced as a written copy on request.

Regs. 12-17 Cover exemptions, amendments, repeals and revocations concerning legislation covering other industries such as the Armed Services, Shipbuilding, the Docks, Mines and Quarries and the Factories Act 1961.

Schedule 1 Covers Information to be contained in a report of a thorough examination. If completed thoroughly, the Chiltern Invadex report sheet covers all of the requirements.

Schedule 2 Lists the extent of revocation other legislation due to the introduction of LOLER.

As with all legislation, the written word is subject to interpretation, however, the ACOP is constructed in such a fashion that if all of the ACOP and guidance notes are followed then you will be seen to do enough to comply with the Law.

A copy of the ACOP is held in the Assisticare Head Office and is available from HSE books Tel. 01787 881165, The HSE reference number for the ACOP is L113

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

Summary

As an “employer” your responsibilities include:

Ensure that the equipment used is sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for the proposed use.

Ensure that the equipment is installed or positioned to prevent the risk of injury.

Ensure that all lifting equipment is marked with its safe working load.

Ensure that all lifting operations are properly planned by a competent person.

Ensure that all employees have appropriate training and instruction so that they are able to ensure that the equipment is safe to use.

Ensure that all lifting equipment is thoroughly examined before being used for the first time.

Ensure that thorough examinations take place every 6 months or in accordance with a scheme of examination.

Ensure that a thorough examination takes place following any exceptional circumstances.

Ensure that the person carrying out those examinations is ‘competent’, independent and impartial.

Ensure that if equipment is sold or passed on, it is accompanied by a record of its last thorough examination.

If a scheme of examination is in place, that:

The scheme has been produced by a competent person.

The scheme is recorded, annotated and accessible.

That changes to the equipment or its use are advised to the competent person so that the scheme may be amended if necessary.
That in the event of a report of a defect being received, that the equipment is removed from service until the defect is rectified.

Ensure that Declaration of conformity and/or examination reports are kept for the appropriate periods

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