What is LOLER?

LOLER is an acronym, used to abbreviate Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. LOLER regulations cover the operation and control of lifting equipment, placing responsibility on both the company in ownership of and the employee operating lifting equipment. Lifting equipment, classed as work equipment, is also subject to PUWER, an abbreviation of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

Regulation 8(2) of LOLER defines a lifting operation as ‘an operation concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load’. A ‘load’ is the item or items being lifted, which includes a person or people. The Health and Safety Executive defines lifting equipment as, ‘work equipment for lifting and lowering loads.’ This includes lifting accessories and attachments used for anchoring, fixing, or supporting the equipment.’ (Source: HSE).

Penny Hydraulics Provide Self Storage Company with a Mezzanine Goods Lift – Penny Hydraulics
Examples of lifting equipment include:
  • Overhead cranes
  • Hoists
  • Vehicle lifts
  • Vehicle mounted tail lifts and cranes
  • Cleaning cradles and suspension equipment
  • Goods and passenger lifts
  • Telehandlers and forklifts
  • Lifting accessories such as rope slings.


Operators and owners of lifts or cranes must:
  • Purchase equipment that carries the CE/UKCA mark. 
  • Only use equipment for its intended use. 
  • Plan and risk assess their operation. 
  • Train operators and ensure that they are competent. 
  • Keep to the manufacturers service and inspection schedule.
  • Ensure that equipment is inspected in accordance with LOLER, by a competent person and a record kept. Please note that the inspection carried out when a crane is first installed on a vehicle or a lift first fitted in a building is particularly important as a check is made of the stability and security of the mountings in an over-load situation.

There are two main sides to legislation  that placing requirements on designers and manufacturers and on the other side obligations for owners and operators. 

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Obligations for Owners and Operators

Health and Safety at Work Act, HASAWA

This is an Act of Parliament and so a law of the land. It is very general but carries high penalties and so is usually the one used for prosecutions. In essence it says that no-one should become injured or have their health affected at work or by someone at work. If they do, then either the employer or employee is to blame, and they may be fined or in extreme cases jailed.

For example, it is likely that if someone is injured by a faulty crane or lift that has not been maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions then a prosecution would be made under the HASAWA rather than PUWER because a judge would argue that the employer has not made every effort to keep persons safe. The procedure would be the same to take action against an employee if the accident were caused by an employee tampering with a safety device as the HASAWA places a legal duty on employees to co-operate with their employer and not to misuse or tamper with safety related items.


Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations, PUWER

Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations, LOLER

These start to flesh out the Act with more detail but are enacted by ministers or ministerial bodies rather than Parliament and can be enforced by various authorities but not always in a Court of Law. The most general one relating to the workplace is the Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations and, due to the specific hazards associated with lifting there is a sister regulation in the Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations that gives specific requirements to control the risks around lifting.

They are generally enforced by the Health and Safety Executive and contravention can lead to fines but if someone has been injured it would be more usual for a prosecution to be brought under the HASWA. For example, if a routine visit by a Health and Safety Executive inspector flagged up that lifting equipment was not being inspected then a fine may be imposed due to the contravention of the (LOLER) Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.  

Mezz HD – 1000kg Goods Lift – Penny Hydraulics Ltd

Codes of Practice

Such documents are not legal requirements as they can be very prescriptive and so cannot cover all situations or new developments in technology. They are advice for certain circumstances that if followed then the enforcing authority is unlikely to take action. More than that, if it is an Approved Code of Practice that has been suitably applied then the enforcing authority cannot take action. There is an Approved Code of Practice for Goods Lifts that describes in considerable detail how a goods lift can be designed, built and installed.  It cannot be applied to a whole range of circumstances such as garage lifts, a fork-lift trucks, dock-levellers or our own CellarLifts but all these would still be covered under LOLER, PUWER and HASAWA (Health and Safety at Work Act).

Competent Person

This is a term regularly used in regulations when describing who should be inspecting equipment and can be open to interpretation. It is generally accepted that a competent person has “such appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined as will enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment”. They must also be suitably impartial as to be able to “fail” items and have no pressure applied to “let things run”. The owner or operator of the equipment must decide who they contract to carry out inspections. It sounds obvious but inspection and maintenance are different, but both are legal requirements.

​MezzLight the Model Solution to Speed Up Efficiency and Reduce Strain on Workforce for Railway Models – Penny Hydraulics Ltd

Obligations for Designers, Manufacturers and Importers

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 – Machinery Directive

The Machinery Directive governs every aspect of machinery design and making ready for sale. It covers a wide range of design aspects but in brief, 

  • CE or UKCA marking/Declaration of Conformity 
  • Intended use 
  • Design risk analysis 
  • Residual risk analysis 
  • Safety factors 
  • Operating instructions 
  • Service and inspection requirements 

The enforcing authority for ensuring compliance of machinery and equipment in the workplace is the Health and Safety Executive but for private use it would be Trading Standards. Penalties can be harsh. It has been used in the past to ensure conformity of design throughout the European Union but criteria may now start to diverge.  American design safety factors have always differed to that of the UK so any crane bought in the USA would need to have the design checked and documented prior to affixing the CE/UKCA mark and being offered for sale in the UK.   


These are detailed documents drawn up by a variety of bodies who have expert knowledge in particular areas to drive improvement, efficiencysafety and conformity They have some bearing on operators but are primarily aimed at designers. Some British standards (BS) groups work with European partners so that it can become a European standard (EN) or with international partners to become a world standard (ISO). They have no basis in law but can be used as evidence of best practice.  An example is that the Association of Lorry Loaders, Manufacturers and Importers (ALLMI) represent the UK at a Europe wide working group to improve the design and safety of lorry loading equipment.  They have helped to produce the BS EN 1299:2020 Cranes-Loader Cranes. The document specifies minimum requirements for design, calculation, examinations and tests of hydraulic powered loader cranes and their mountings on vehicles or static foundations.

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