What is lifting operations lifting equipment?

Lifting Equipment is defined as any equipment whose principal purpose is to lift or lower loads, including attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. The Regulations cover a wide range of equipment including:

  • Cranes, fork-lift trucks, passenger lifts, jacks, axle stands, mobile elevating platforms, vehicle inspection platforms, patient lifting hoists, dumb waiters in hotels or restaurants, vehicle tail lifts, ropes and pulleys used to raise materials on building sites. etc.
  • All lifting accessories such as chains, ropes, slings, shackles, eyebolts, harnesses, etc.

Why is lifting equipment important?

These Regulations replaced many other pieces of Health and Safety Legislation and were introduced in order to control and minimise the risks posed by lifting equipment and related operations to employees and others including members of the public, contractors, other users of the premises, sites etc.

What does the law say?

All employers have statutory obligations in relation to the health and safety of their employees and premises. There are elements of the following legislation that affect the use of lifting equipment and carrying out lifting operations in the workplace:

  • The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). In general, the law requires that any lifting equipment for use at work is:
    • Suitable, strong and stable enough for the particular use and marked to indicate safe working loads
    • Positioned and installed to minimise any risks
    • Used safely i.e. the work is planned, organised and performed by competent people
    • Marked with the safe working load, and if it is used for carrying people with the maximum number that can be carried
    • Subject to ongoing thorough examination, ( usually detailed within a written Scheme of Examination drawn up by a competent person) and where appropriate inspection by competent people
  • Reg.3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (MHSWR)
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)

Good lifting equipment practice

Based on the results of the risk assessment, safe systems of work should be developed and used for all lifting operations taking into account the working environment, geographical location, local site conditions etc., where the equipment is to be used. You need to ensure that all lifting equipment, and any accessories or attachments, are:

  • Sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for the proposed use.
  • Positioned or installed to prevent the risk of injury, e.g. from the equipment or the load falling or striking people.
  • Visibly marked with any appropriate information relevant to its safe use, e.g. safe working loads. All lifting operations should be planned and carried out by a competent person, (someone with sufficient knowledge, experience, training, and other attributes), to ensure that they are carried out safely.

More information on lifting operations


Free HSE publications:
Simple guide to the lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations 1998
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg290.pdf PDF File

Guidance on the application of provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998 and the lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations 1998 to motor vehicle repair
http://www.hse.gov.uk/fod/infodocs/803_69.pdf PDF File