Your legal responsibility
You must try to reduce risks to people's health and safety from lifting equipment at work. If you use lifting equipment, be aware of their risks when you carry out The 5-step approach to risk assessments.
Lifting equipment includes those used at work for lifting or lowering loads, including attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. These include cranes, forklift trucks, lifts, hoists, mobile elevating work platforms and vehicle inspection platform hoists. It also includes lifting accessories such as chains, slings, eyebolts, etc. It doesn't include escalators.
If employees have their own lifting equipment, this, too, is covered by the regulations.
The law applies if you provide or control lifting equipment. It doesn't apply if you provide equipment to be used primarily by members of the public, e.g. lifts in a shopping centre.
What law applies?
- The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 ('LOLER')
- The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999
How to protect your employees' safety
You should ensure that all lifting equipment is:
- Strong, stable and suitable enough for the proposed use. Similarly, the load and anything else attached must be suitable (e.g. timber pallets, lifting points);
- Positioned or installed to prevent the risk of injury, e.g. from the equipment or the load falling or striking people; and
- Visibly marked with any appropriate safety information. Accessories such as slings and clamps should be similarly marked.
Additionally, you must ensure that:
- Lifting operations are planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner by competent people;
- Lifts are marked accordingly and should be safe for such a purpose;
- Where appropriate, examining lifting equipment (including accessories) before it's used for the first time. It should be thoroughly examined regularly — at least every 6 months for accessories and equipment used for lifting people and at least every year for all other equipment, or as often as a competent person recommends. All examinations should be done by a competent person; and
- Following a thorough examination of any lifting equipment, the competent person gives you a report to help you take the appropriate action.
See the HSE's website for information on LOLER.