20 Mar, 2024

Lifting operations can be extremely dangerous. Accidents involving lifting equipment can cause costly damage to your equipment, as well as serious or fatal injuries. Reducing the potential risks of lifting operations is critical to the health and safety of your workers and the surrounding public. 

LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) is a legal requirement in the UK designed to make lifting operations and the use of lifting equipment as safe as possible.

LOLER defines lifting equipment as all equipment used at work for lowering and lifting loads - whether items or people. This also covers attachments for supporting, anchoring, or fixing the equipment, as well as any accessories. Find out more below.

Introduction to LOLER Regulations

Lifting equipment is covered by the rules of LOLER and PUWER. While PUWER provides guidelines on the maintenance of work equipment, LOLER focuses on the safe use of lifting equipment at work. It is crucial that you ensure your workers can operate equipment safely and legally.

Under LOLER, you must have thorough inspections carried out by qualified professionals, such as ISI, to verify that your equipment is:

  • Strong and stable enough for its intended use, and marked to indicate its maximum load capacity
  • Positioned in a suitably safe location where the risk of harm is minimised
  • Used in a safe, organised manner by competent staff

All equipment should be maintained for safe use. Pre-use checks and routine maintenance can be conducted by your staff if trained appropriately. LOLER places a duty on anyone who manages a lifting operation to make sure that employees are properly trained and have enough experience to operate the equipment safely.

What Equipment is Covered by LOLER?

LOLER specifically applies to the use of lifting equipment for work purposes. This means that escalators used by customers are not covered. Other workplace lifting equipment may be considered low risk enough to not be covered by LOLER, such as hospital beds and dentist chairs. This equipment, however, will still be covered by PUWER.

LOLER regulations cover an extensive range of lifting equipment, including but not limited to:

  • Forklift and pallet trucks
  • Goods lifts and passenger lifts
  • Overhead cranes
  • Hoists
  • Vehicle inspection platform hoists
  • Mobile elevating work platforms

A full list of equipment and corresponding regulations can be found here.

Overhead Cranes 

If your overhead cranes are not maintained and used correctly, they pose a significant risk to buildings, materials, and people. Common risks include falling loads, electrical hazards, and crane overload.
There are multiple standards set to reduce or eliminate these risks:

  • Ensure workers are adequately trained to operate the crane safely
  • Make sure all materials are properly secured
  • Be especially vigilant around power lines
  • Do not exceed the crane’s operational capacity
  • Carry out routine maintenance, inspections, and repairs

Forklift Trucks & Pallet Trucks 

When using forklifts and pallet trucks, operators should consider many safety factors, such as:

  • Environment
  • Location
  • Securing loads
  • Visibility
  • Proximity

LOLER also requires that forklifts be clearly marked with their safe working load. Without these regulations, forklifts and pallet trucks pose a danger to users and anyone around them.

Goods Lifts & Passenger Lifts 

Similarly, goods and passenger lifts should be marked with their maximum load capacity. Lifting equipment that is used to carry people must be thoroughly inspected every six months.

It is essential that passenger lifts have devices to prevent people from falling out of the lift or being crushed or trapped by it. If a person does become trapped in any lift, they must not be at risk of any danger and should be capable of being freed.


To ensure that your hoist operators, the public, and surrounding areas are kept as safe as possible, it is crucial that you:

  • Plan and organise your lift appropriately
  • Check that the equipment is in good condition before use
  • Do not exceed the equipment’s safe working load
  • Ensure that the load is attached securely
  • Prevent anyone from getting underneath a suspended load

Most important is that your worker is fully trained to operate the hoist.

Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWP)

Many mobile elevating work platform accidents can be eliminated with basic safety standards, such as ensuring your trained employees conduct daily pre-use checks and getting issues resolved before the equipment is used.

However, some major risks include electrocution, falls, collisions, and tip-overs. To reduce these risks, operators should:

  • Assume that all power lines are energised
  • Keep the platform clear to prevent tripping hazards
  • Not move the MEWP when the platform is raised as the equipment is top-heavy and compromises sightlines
  • Have a spotter walk ahead to report obstacles or warn pedestrians to move away
  • Keep a firm footing and do not sit, stand, or climb on the guardrails
  • Keep a mobile phone or radio with them in case they require help

Vehicle Inspection Platform Hoists

Vehicle platform hoists come with falling, trapping, or crushing risks, as well as the risk of hair or loose clothing getting caught in moving machine parts. Operators should undertake pre-use safety checks, including but not limited to:

  • Ensure all guards are fitted, secure, and functional
  • Check the capacity of the hoist compared to the weight of the vehicle
  • Ensure the area and platform are clean and clear of grease and oil

Only one person should operate the hoist at a time, and the hoist must not be operated if it does not have a current certificate of inspection.

Industry-Specific Considerations

LOLER regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). HSE clarifies that some lifting equipment falls under separate legislation from LOLER. For instance, many conveyor systems, pallet trucks, escalators, and moving walkways used at work are covered by PUWER.

Lifting equipment located in private dwellings or for customer access may not be covered by LOLER or PUWER but is subject to the HSW Act. This means that equipment should be thoroughly examined and inspected for safe use using LOLER and PUWER regulations as guidance.

Stairlifts and platform lifts intended for customer use in shopping centres and other public places usually come under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 and require third-party conformity assessments. More HSE information can be found here.

How to Find Reliable LOLER Inspection Companies Near Me

It’s important that you only allow qualified professionals to inspect your workplace equipment if you intend to comply with the legal requirements set out by LOLER.

You should find reliable and accredited inspection companies that offer quality inspection and testing services. Partnering with companies that specialise in multiple inspection services also enables you to ensure that all your workplace equipment and health and safety practices are up to date.

Independent companies, like ISI, ensure that there can never be a conflict of interest, providing you with impartial and sound engineering judgement. To hear more about how we can help you, contact us today.