A Step-by-Step Guide to LOLER Inspection Frequency

In the realm of workplace safety, specific regulations form the cornerstone of safety practices for all businesses using lifting equipment. From construction sites to warehouses, commercial places and beyond, LOLER plays a vital role.

These regulations are designed to protect the employees and the public in different circumstances. Among all the rules, LOLER is one of the most crucial ones.

Lifting Equipment supplies like cranes, pulleys, and hoists can easily wear out and pose a risk to the staff and operators. Even in new conditions, equipment can be faulty, and proper checks must be done to confirm it’s in good condition. The LOLER inspection frequency ensures that all lifting equipment is safe, fit for purpose, and regularly inspected.

Do you run a business using heavy lifting equipment and are worried about the security of your employees? Are you looking for a solution to avoid any mishap during the operation of this lifting equipment? This blog will provide you with all the necessary answers to your questions.

This comprehensive guide will discuss LOLER inspections, their importance, frequency, processes, and every facet of this reliable practice.

What is a LOLER Inspection for Lifting Equipment?

Nowadays, health and safety regulations regarding lifting equipment are taken very seriously in most companies. Industries have a higher risk of injuries, and this is critical to deal with. This is where LOLER plays a vital role.

LOLER was set by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 1998, aiming to improve safety at work and reduce the risk of injuries. LOLER stands for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations and refers to the ongoing inspections of lifting equipment and operations for companies. It is an in-depth examination of all safety-critical components of lifting machinery and accessories.

This process involves more than simple visual inspection. It covers load testing, detailed scrutiny of wear and tear, and a thorough assessment of the condition of equipment. It is necessary to ensure that it is thoroughly checked and verified to be safe for use.

As per the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), around 111 people were killed in 2019-20 while operating mechanical equipment. It shows that one of the primary reasons companies must consider regular equipment checking is

LOLER states – “all equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task, suitably marked and, in many cases, subject to statutory periodic ‘LOLER thorough inspection.”

With higher LOLER inspection frequency, it is easier to ensure that both new and old equipment is not compromised in its usage. Frequent statutory inspections check different aspects of equipment, minimising risks when possible.

What Equipment Needs LOLER Checks?

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) ensure the safety of workers by focusing on workplace lifting equipment. This includes equipment owned by both the employer and employees themselves, but not all work equipment falls under LOLER.

Here’s a breakdown of equipment that requires LOLER checks:

Lifting Powerhouses: Cranes, fork-lift trucks, and hoists are all essential tools that need to be LOLER compliant.
Platform Lifts: Both passenger and goods lifts, as well as mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), require LOLER inspections.
Vehicle Inspection Helpers: Platforms used for inspecting vehicles also fall under LOLER regulations.
Lifting Accessories: Don’t forget about the crucial supporting players! Hooks, ropes, chains, shackles, and eyebolts all need LOLER checks.

Equipment Not Covered by LOLER Checks:

While LOLER focuses on lifting equipment, some equipment uses continuous movement to transport people or goods and falls outside its scope. These typically require checks under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). Examples include escalators, moving walkways, some conveyor systems, and basic pallet trucks.

Importance of Regular LOLER Inspections

Once the LOLER was passed in 1998, it replaced the construction and use regulations of 1961. As per the old regulations, each piece of lifting equipment had to undergo an overload test every four years.

These old regulations were replaced as specific types of lifting equipment were damaged during conventional overload tests. The LOLER inspections are less intensive and include a thorough examination every year.

Hence, it doesn’t affect the lifespan of this lifting equipment. As they are conducted more frequently, it better ensures the performance of lifting equipment.

As a company, employee security and the prevention of serious injuries should be your top priority. Failing to complete LOLER inspections leads to further issues, which impact your employees and organisation.

LOLER inspection and testing standards vary depending upon specific criteria; they mainly cover the following areas –

  • Utilisation and suitability:

In this phase of the LOLER test, the environment where the equipment is set, the usage frequency and weight capacity are calculated. It helps to determine whether lifting equipment is suitable for the desired usage.

This equipment is placed in a location with almost no scope for lifting loads over humans. All movement of the equipment is protected by guard rails, barriers, or other enclosures.

  • Weight capacity:

The LOLER weight test is a very crucial factor to consider. This load testing includes determining whether the apparatus can support the weight.

  • Planning and operations:

To pass the LOLER test, ensure that your lifting activities are well planned, organised, controlled and carried out. It involves evaluating emergency or breakdown procedures for the equipment.

According to the HSE mandate, equipment should be appropriately labelled with safe working loads. Depending on the operations, this is a core part of the equipment testing process; it might also involve attachments like hooks, pulleys, and other equipment.

Who Can Carry Out Lifting Inspections?

LOLER regulations guarantee that lifting the equipment conforms to regulation standards and ensures they are safe to use. The Health and Safety at Work Act declares that failing to fulfil the LOLER inspection protocol is dangerous.

If any equipment is faulty, it can lead to injury or fatal accidents. Since its implementation, all forms of lifting equipment and accessories must undergo a LOLER testing examination. Here comes the role of a competent person who conducts the tests.

A ‘competent person’ has the necessary credentials, experience, and skills, which may vary depending on the workplace. As per the Approved Code of Practice and guidance, a competent person can inspect, decide, and assist if any defects are found.

He or she cannot be the same person who is responsible for the pre-use checks. This allows the implementation of additional protection levels and reduces further risks.

According to regulations, this person is nominated by the employer to carry out LOLER examinations. It is based on his or her level of training, experience, knowledge about equipment, identifying defects, and testing methods to meet the criteria of a qualified inspector.

This person must be unbiased to ensure their decisions aren’t based on personal or business interests. Thus, you are advised to hire an external contractor to perform your LOLER inspections. It will prevent any doubts regarding the validity of LOLER inspections.

How Often Should You Inspect Lifting Equipment?

It is essential to carry out lift inspections regularly to comply with the LOLER regulations. As advised by HSE, the employers carry out two inspections every year.Meeting the LOLER inspection frequency and requirements is vital to remaining compliant throughout the lifting equipment lifespan.

To ensure that all your LOLER checks are completed, thorough examinations should be conducted on a regular frequency-

Inspection FrequencySummaryCategory of Equipment And Accessories
6 monthsIt is required for any equipment and accessories used in lifting people.Harnesses and lanyards
6 monthsIt is used for lifting accessories and lifting equipment for attaching loads to machinery.Slings and shackles
12 monthsIt is required for other lifting equipment or work equipment for lifting and lowering loads.Forklift trucks or vehicle lifts

Considering Additional Factors Affecting Inspection Frequency

The competent person concerned might ask for more frequent inspections. It depends on the condition of the item and the operating conditions, too. Having a LOLER thorough examination helps to identify faults before they turn serious.

Factors Affecting LOLER testing frequency are as follows-

  • Before the first use

For the first time, it’s essential to ensure that the equipment is safe and fit to use. Unless the equipment has a Declaration of Conformity of less than one year old, LOLER inspection is a must.

  • After assembly

When installing equipment at a new site, it must be checked before use at each location. This helps ensure that it was put together correctly and is safe for action.

  •  Regularly in service

Most equipment is exposed to conditions causing wear and tear; thus, regular in-service examinations are needed. You must schedule frequent checks if any equipment is left unprotected to heightened or extreme conditions. You can follow an inspection plan crafted by an expert to maintain compliance with appropriate frequency.

  • After exceptional circumstances

A LOLER inspection is essential as any equipment can be damaged or fail to be used for the first time after a long span. It is applicable even if the equipment is undergoing significant modifications or replacement and repair of parts.

Advantages of Hiring Professional Inspection Service

Hiring a professional inspection service to carry out LOLER inspections is essential. It ensures that a competent person carries out wholly impartial and unbiased inspections.

Professional LOLER inspection service offers multiple benefits to your business –

  • Compliance Assurance:

The professionals assess a wide range of lifting equipment with their expertise. They ensure all the inspections will align with the LOLER regulations inspection frequency, thus reducing the risk of legal and regulatory complications.

  • Safety Enhancement:

Highly skilled inspectors prioritise safety concerns during the examination process. It helps to identify potential defects or weaknesses in lifting equipment and reduces the chances of accidents.

  • Reminders:

LOLER inspectors offer reminder services to ensure that your equipment is routinely checked without risking a breach of conformity.

  • Objective and Compliant Evaluation:

The professional inspectors offer a fair assessment of the condition and safety of the lifting equipment.

  • Documentation and records:

The LOLER inspectors maintain detailed records and documentation of the tests and have easy access to all the records. This documentation serves as evidence of compliance, which is valuable for audits or legal purposes.

  • Cost savings:

Even if hiring professional LOLER inspectors is expensive, the long-term benefits outweigh the initial investment. Identifying and addressing issues can prevent costly repairs and replacements, accidents, and extra costs.

How do you select a reliable, qualified inspector for inspection?

The primary thing to consider while choosing a qualified inspector is that he must be competent. LOLER legally defines this person as someone who can conduct a thorough examination of lifting equipment.

A Qualified LOLER Inspector Must Have the Following Qualities –

Detailed understanding and substantial experience in carrying out LOLER inspections

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of lifting equipment
  • Ensure full compliance with safety standards and regulations
  • Ensure that the equipment is fully functional and safe to use, minimising the risk of accidents
  • Detect defects and assess how important they are concerning the safety and use of the equipment
  • Be sufficiently independent and impartial to make objective decisions

Pre-Inspection Preparation Procedure –

LOLER examinations are undertaken at frequent intervals on all the lifting equipment. It is done in accordance with Health and Safety Executive requirements, ensuring the equipment and operations are safe.

Multiple steps can be taken to prepare for your LOLER inspection, even on the day of the test. It helps ensure that the process is successful and runs smoothly.

The pre-inspection steps are as follows –

  • Notice all staff of your LOLER inspection date

Inform your staff beforehand about the LOLER inspection date. This will help them prepare and answer any questions the inspector may ask. Giving them enough time will also help them confidently point out any persisting equipment issues.

  • Check your paperwork is in order

You need to provide proper documents related to each piece of lifting equipment. Ensure that your equipment register is updated and easily accessible, and track down any required missing information.

You need to be ready with risk assessments, procedures, and lift plans and provide them to the inspectors if they ask.

  • Ensure staff training is up to date

The LOLER testing process also checks if the individual handling the equipment is capable enough. It thoroughly checks if the person concerned is adequately trained and follows all safe precautions. Before the LOLER test, ensure all your staffs is trained and that it is documented for reference.

  • Identify all equipment requiring inspection

If any particular item is not presented for inspection, you are left with faulty equipment. It endangers the welfare of your staff and poses a legal risk to your business. Thus, take time to identify equipment that needs routine testing and the one that is repaired or reinstalled.

  • Prepare your equipment for LOLER testing

If you already know that some of your equipment requires fixing, do so before the inspection. Otherwise, you must schedule a new examination if that equipment fails to perform.

Before opting for the LOLER load testing requirements, perform preventative maintenance, apply lubricants, and clean all the items. This will help the tester examine without any hassle.

  • Ensure all lifting equipment has the correct marking

The LOLER inspector will check whether all the lifting equipment is marked with the correct information. The marking includes safety signs and details on safe working loads (SWL).

It even covers a clear display of information stating which lifting accessories are compatible with which particular equipment. The inspector further checks if all the markings are correct, ensuring all the labels and signs are visible.

  • Make your equipment accessible and available for examination

If your equipment is spread across your site, move it to one inspection location for easy identification and access. Inform the operators that their equipment will be unavailable during the test. Accordingly, they need to plan their work.

  • Assign someone to liaise with the examiner

Supporting the examiner’s work is an excellent way to ensure a smooth LOLER inspection process. If the inspector doesn’t get easy access while asking questions or seeking information, it can impact the process.

If this lag persists, you might miss the opportunity to provide correct information, resulting in not getting the certification. You should help the examiner know who to approach and make sure someone is available throughout the test.

Detailed Step-by-Step LOLER Inspection Process

A competent person should follow a systematic approach to performing a LOLER inspection. Regardless of your previous inspection experience, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the inspector’s expectations.
You must hire professionals to conduct LOLER lift inspections at regular intervals. It will maintain the security of lifting equipment and operations.

Here is a step-by-step guide to performing a LOLER inspection:

  • Gather Necessary Information:

Gather all details about the lifting equipment, such as the make, model, serial number, load capacity, and date of manufacture. You also need to collect maintenance records, risk assessments, and operator training certifications.

  • Prepare a Checklist:

You need to create a detailed LOLER inspection checklist according to the type of lifting equipment and its usage. You can refer to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations guidelines.

  • Conduct a Visual Inspection:

You must opt for LOLER lifting accessories inspection for any signs of damage or defects. Further check if corrosion, cracks, or deformation are present or if any parts are missing. You need to inspect all the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic components.

  • Perform Functional Tests:

Check the functionality of all controls, brakes, and safety devices, ensuring they are operating smoothly enough. Test other emergency stop controls and other features.

  • Conduct Load Tests:

Confirm the equipment’s ability to lift and handle the maximum rated load. This might involve choosing a test load or using calibrated load measurement devices.

  • Inspect Structural Integrity:

Assess the structural components of the equipment, such as beams, columns, and welds. Look for signs of fatigue, corrosion, or deformation in these accessories or the equipment itself. It is also important to ensure that the equipment is correctly installed and securely anchored.

  • Review Maintenance Records:

Assess the equipment’s maintenance history to check whether it has been serviced and maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Verify Operator Training and Competence:

Ensure the operators have received proper training and hold authentic certifications to operate the lifting equipment.

  • Assess Risk Management:

Check the risk assessment associated with the lifting operations. You must verify whether suitable control measures are implemented to reduce the potential hazards.

  • Observe Safe Working Procedures:

Ensure that correct procedures are followed during lifting operations. This includes wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and adhering to safe working loads (SWL).

Post-Inspection Actions

Once the LOLER inspection is done, you will receive a certificate or a signed report. This certificate will provide all the necessary details you need to know about the inspection of your lifting equipment. Two signatures are required for confirmation – one from the individual who completed the report and the other from an authenticator.

Before receiving the certificate, you need to verify specific criteria like –

  • Document Findings:

Record all observations, test results, and any identified defects. Take photographs, as they will help provide visual evidence of the inspection.

  • Create a Report from those Findings:

Get a detailed LOLER inspection report covering the inspection’s findings, required corrective actions, and improvement recommendations.

  • Follow-up on Corrective Actions:

Follow up after the inspection to ensure that the issues are addressed promptly and effectively. Also, verify that the equipment is safe before returning it to service.

LOLER Inspection – No Compromise towards Safety with WH Scott & Son Engineers

The LOLER inspection checklist is essential for ensuring the safety and proper functioning of lifting equipment used in businesses. All mechanical equipment, whether new or old, must undergo regular LOLER inspections to prevent injuries and fatalities.

Neglecting or failing to carry out these checks can significantly increase the risk of operating such equipment. We at WH Scott & Son Engineers ensure that we conduct successful LOLER regulations inspections and that your equipment works in the best condition.

Safety is non-negotiable to us, and we are here to help you prevent accidents. With our help, you can rest assured that your workers will deliver their duties confidently.

Hire us to get expert LOLER inspection services, and never forget about safety!