What is lifting equipment?
The range of lifting equipment covered by LOLER is very wide and the Regulations can apply across all industry sectors; from healthcare to construction, most industries and commercial activity will use some kind of lifting equipment.
Technological progress has meant that innovative, often complex and powerful lifting equipment is now available for use. Nevertheless, whether it is modern and complex or more traditional lifting equipment, LOLER will apply if it is used by employees or the relevant self-employed at work. If you are self-employed and your work poses no risk to the health and safety of others, then health and safety law may not apply to you. HSE has guidance to help you understand if the law applies.
There are three key terms used in reference to the Regulations: 'lifting equipment'; 'lifting operations'; and 'the load'.
Lifting equipment is any work equipment for lifting and lowering loads, and includes any accessories used in doing so (such as attachments to support, fix or anchor the equipment).
Examples of lifting equipment include:
- overhead cranes and their supporting runways
- patient hoists
- motor vehicle lifts
- vehicle tail lifts and cranes fitted to vehicles
- a building cleaning cradle and its suspension equipment
- goods and passenger lifts
- telehandlers and fork lifts
- lifting accessories
Lifting accessories are pieces of equipment that are used to attach the load to lifting equipment, providing a link between the two. Any lifting accessories used between lifting equipment and the load may need to be taken into account in determining the overall weight of the load.
Examples of lifting accessories include:
- fibre or rope slings
- chains (single or multiple leg)
- spreader beams
- magnetic and vacuum devices
Further details and examples of equipment covered by LOLER can be found in the Approved Code of Practice and guidance.
This is a term defined by LOLER regulation 8(2): 'In this regulation "lifting operation" means an operation concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load.'
The load includes any material, people or animals (or any combination of these) that is lifted by the lifting equipment. Loads are often provided with permanent or semi-permanent fixed or attached points for lifting. In most cases, these are considered to be part of the load.
Examples of loads include:
- loose bulk materials
- sacks, bags, pallets and stillages
- discrete items (such as a large concrete block)
- machinery and any permanently attached lifting eyes
- a skip and the lugs fixed to its side
Equipment not covered by LOLER
LOLER is wide in its scope and some equipment might appear to be 'lifting' and therefore thought to be covered by LOLER. However, there are some notable exceptions that are not covered by LOLER, including :
- pallet trucks, where the consequence of the load falling off is very low
- roller shutter doors
- fall arrest ropes
- tipper trucks
- dentist chairs
However, where this equipment is used at work, it will need to be maintained for safety and may (in some cases) be subject to inspection under PUWER.