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LOLER – What is it and how to be compliant with the regulations

- Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, (Abbreviated to LOLER, LOLER Regulations or LOLER 1998) place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment.

In most cases, lifting equipment will also be covered by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). You need to understand your legal duties when it comes to maintaining and inspecting lifting equipment.

What is LOLER?

The LOLER regulations require that all lifting operations involving lifting equipment must be

  • properly planned by a competent person
  • appropriately supervised
  • carried out in a safe manner.

It also requires that all equipment used for lifting is

  • fit for purpose
  • appropriate for the task
  • suitably marked with suitable maintenance recorded and defects reported

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers the following advice for businesses or organisations undertaking lifting operations providing lifting equipment for others to use:

Where you undertake lifting operations involving lifting equipment you must:

  • plan them properly
  • use people who are sufficiently competent
  • supervise them appropriately
  • ensure that they are carried out in a safe manner

What lifting equipment is covered by LOLER?

The LOLER regulations cover any equipment used at work. However, some work equipment may not be subject to LOLER’s specific provisions. However, when used at work, the provisions of PUWER still apply to all equipment (including selection, inspection, maintenance, and training). Some examples of work equipment which does not come under LOLER but still comes under the provisions of PUWER include escalators, stair lifts and platform lifts for the use of customers within a workplace.

However, it’s important to remember that that under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HASAW) employers and the self-employed have responsibilities, so far as reasonably practicable, for the safety of people they do not employ that may be affected by the employer’s work and therefore businesses allowing the public to use lifting equipment, should still be managing the risks from this equipment – and will generally need to be to the same stringent standards as required by LOLER and PUWER

How to select the right lifting equipment?

According to LOLER, all workplace lifting equipment should be positioned or installed in such a way as to reduce the risk, as far as reasonably practicable, of the equipment or load striking a person, or of the load drifting, falling freely or being unintentionally released.

All equipment must also be appropriately marked. The HSE advises:

All lifting equipment, including accessories, must be clearly marked to indicate their ‘safe working loads’ (SWL) – the maximum load the equipment can safely lift.

Where the SWL of any equipment or accessory depends on its configuration, the information provided on the SWL must reflect all potential configurations (for example, where the hook of an engine hoist can be moved to different positions, the SWL should be shown for each position). In some cases, the information should be kept with the lifting machinery, eg the rated capacity indicator fitted to a crane, showing the operator the SWL for any of the crane’s permitted lifting configurations.


WLL and SWL are abbreviated terms commonly used in the field of engineering. “WLL” stands for “working load limit” while “SWL” stands for “safe working load.” The main differences between safe working load from working load limit is that “SWL” is the older term. Today, SWL is not used anymore because it has been completely replaced by the term WLL. Let us discover the reasons why engineers put an end to using the term “safe working load.”

“Safe working load” is also synonymous with “normal working load.” According to, “safe working load” is defined as “the breaking load of a component divided by an appropriate factor of safety giving a safe load that could be lifted or carried.” Safe working load is the amount of weight (load) that a lifting device can carry without fear of breaking.

Now, who sets the load capacity for certain lifting equipment?

It is the lifting equipment’s manufacturer. The manufacturer recommends the maximum load capacity of his lifting equipment. The lifting equipment or device can be a rope, a line, a crane, hooks, shackles, slings, or any lifting device. To know the safe working load, the lifting equipment’s minimum breaking strength is divided with the safety factor that is constant or assigned to a particular type of equipment. Usually, the safety factor of a particular equipment ranges from 4 to 6. If the equipment poses a risk to a person’s life, the safety factor is raised to 10.

Since the definition of “safe working load” is not very specific and there are legal implications, the USA standards began to stop using this term. A few years after the USA standards began to stop using this term, the European and ISO standards began to follow suit. Later on, both the Americans and Europeans developed a more appropriate term and definition for the maximum load capacity of a particular lifting device. Both parties agreed to the use of the term “working load limit” or WLL.

Based again on the pdf file presented in, the specific definition for the working load limit is that it is the maximum mass or force which a product is authorized to support in general service when the pull is applied in-line, unless noted otherwise, with respect to the centreline of the product. This definition can also be added to refer to the following definitions: the maximum load that an item can lift; and the maximum load that an item can lift in a particular configuration or application.

How Does a Person Know What the Weight is that is needed to be lifted?

It all comes down to having a sufficiently competent person. The regulations expect you to have a trained person that understands the regulations, has the ability to calculate the weight of the goods and understand how to lift them. You can use Shaw lifting to be that competent person and we could look at providing the information even if we need a Load Cell to do it.

Accessories must also be marked to show any characteristics that might affect their safe use. This may include the weight of the parts, where their weight is significant.

Where people are being lifted, additional training may be required to prevent people from being injured in / by the carrier.

What is PUWER?

PUWER stands for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (1999 in Northern Ireland). The regulations deal with the work equipment and machinery used every day in workplaces and aims to keep people safe wherever equipment and machinery is used at work. PUWER replaces the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992, carrying forward the existing requirements with a number of changes and additions.

How often should a Tests be carried out?
  • Every six months for lifting equipment used for lifting/lowering persons. E.g. passenger lifts, access platforms, window cleaning equipment.
  • Every six months for lifting accessories.
  • Every 12 months for all other lifting equipment not falling into either of the above categories, e.g. cranes, lifting block and runway beams.
  • Or at shorter/longer intervals if determined by the risk assessment.

  • Source:,,

    Business Safe