Welcome to our comprehensive guide on LOLER.

Whether you’re a business owner, an employee, or simply interested in workplace safety, this article will provide you with key information about LOLER and how it impacts your organisation.

What does LOLER stand for?

LOLER stands for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. These are the cornerstone for ensuring the safe operation of lifting equipment across various industries in the UK.  Enacted in 1998, the regulations were established under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA). The primary objective is to ensure that all lifting equipment used in workplaces is safe for operation, properly maintained, and suitable for the task at hand.

What does LOLER cover?

LOLER regulations cover various aspects related to lifting operations, emphasising the responsibilities of employers, equipment owners, and operators.

The regulations apply to a wide range of lifting equipment and machinery commonly used in various industries regardless of the complexity or size of the equipment. This includes cranes, forklifts, hoists, lifting platforms, and even simple devices like ropes and slings. It includes attachments such as chains and hooks.

It is important for employers to have a clear understanding of the lifting equipment used within their organisation and ensure that the LOLER regulations are applied wherever necessary. This includes equipment owned by the organisation, as well as equipment used by contractors or rented from external providers.

LOLER requirements

Under LOLER, employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that lifting operations are properly planned, supervised, and carried out by competent individuals.

The regulations outline specific requirements that employers must adhere to. These include conducting thorough risk assessments, providing adequate training and supervision, and maintaining equipment in a safe condition. Failure to comply with LOLER can result in serious consequences, including fines and legal action.

Some of the key requirements include:

  1. Selecting the right equipment
  2. Marking of lifting equipment
  3. Inspection and certification
  4. LOLER risk assessments and safety precautions
  5. LOLER training and competence
  6. Record-Keeping

Selecting the right equipment

LOLER stipulates that lifting apparatus must be sufficiently strong and stable, and suitable for the task. It must be installed and positioned in such a way as to reduce the risk, as far as reasonably practicable.

Marking of lifting equipment

The safe working load (SWL) is the maximum load a piece of equipment can safely lift. Any lifting equipment must be clearly marked to indicate its SWL.

If the equipment is intended to lift people, the maximum number of people should be displayed alongside the SWL.

Lifting equipment which is not designed for lifting people but may be used this way in error, must be clearly labelled to indicate it is not to be used to lift people.

LOLER risk assessments and safety precautions

In planning any lifting operation, the identification and assessment of risk is key to identifying the most appropriate equipment and method for the job.

A risk assessment helps identify potential hazards, evaluate the level of risk, and determine appropriate control measures to mitigate those risks. By conducting a comprehensive risk assessment, employers can identify any potential issues and take the necessary steps to prevent accidents and injuries.

During a risk assessment, employers should consider factors such as the weight and stability of the load, the condition of the lifting equipment, the competence of the individuals involved in the lifting operation, and the surrounding environment. Based on the assessment, employers must implement suitable safety precautions, such as using appropriate lifting equipment, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), and establishing safe working practices.

Inspection and certification

LOLER requires employers to have lifting equipment thoroughly examined by a competent person at regular intervals. The frequency of these examinations depends on the type of equipment, its intended use, and the operating conditions. The competent person conducting the examination must have the necessary knowledge, experience, and training to assess the equipment’s safety.

During the examination, the competent person will inspect the lifting equipment for any defects or signs of wear and tear that could affect its safe operation. They will also assess whether the equipment is suitable for its intended use and ensure that it complies with LOLER requirements. If any issues are identified, the employer must take immediate action to rectify them before the equipment is used again.

LOLER training and competence

To ensure the safe use of lifting equipment, LOLER requires employers to provide adequate training and supervision to employees involved in lifting operations. Employers must ensure that employees have the necessary knowledge and skills to operate lifting equipment safely and efficiently. This includes training on how to inspect equipment before use, how to properly secure loads, and how to respond to emergency situations.

Employers should also assess the competency of employees involved in lifting operations and provide additional training or supervision if needed. Regular refresher training will ensure that employees stay up to date with the latest safety practices and regulations.


Detailed records of thorough examinations, inspections, and maintenance activities must be maintained to demonstrate compliance with LOLER regulations. These records serve as essential documentation in case of audits or investigations.

LOLER and Manual Handling Operations Regulations

While LOLER specifically focuses on lifting operations and lifting equipment, it is important to note that it works in conjunction with other health and safety regulations such as the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR). Both are concerned with workplace health and safety but they focus on different areas; while LOLER specifically addresses the safe use of lifting equipment, MHOR focus on the safe manual handling of loads by employees.

To illustrate the difference between the two regulations, consider an example. Suppose there is a manufacturing company where workers use forklifts to move heavy materials in the production area. LOLER would dictate that the forklifts are regularly inspected, maintained, and certified to ensure their safe operation. Any faults or issues with the equipment would be promptly addressed to prevent accidents.

At the same time, MHOR would require the company to assess the manual handling tasks involved in transporting the materials using the forklifts. They may identify that employees need training on proper lifting techniques, or they may introduce mechanical aids to reduce the physical strain on workers. MHOR aims to prevent injuries caused by manual handling activities, such as sprains or strains.

LOLER violations

Failure to comply with LOLER can have serious consequences, both in terms of the safety of employees and the legal implications for the organisation.

Legal Ramifications

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing LOLER regulations and has the power to issue improvement notices, prohibition notices, and even prosecute organisations for serious breaches.

Moreover, in the event of an accident, non-compliance may lead to civil liability, compensation claims and reputational damage.

Safety Hazards

Non-compliant lifting equipment poses significant risks to workers, leading to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.

Operational Disruption

Equipment failures due to poor maintenance or non-compliance can disrupt operations, causing delays, downtime, and financial losses.


LOLER regulations play a vital role in safeguarding the health and safety of workers and promoting best practices in lifting operations. By adhering to these regulations, organisations can minimise risks, prevent accidents and thereby maintain operational continuity, and ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Along with the MHOR, these regulations contribute to the over all goal of ensuring the safety and well-being of employees in workplaces where lifting and handling activities are present.

Find out more about safe liftting and handling with our accredited, live and trainer-led courses:

Manual Handling Awareness Course

Manual Handling Train the Trainer Course

Published On: April 5th, 2024