Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998
The LOLER regulations place legal duties on people owning, using or having control over lifting equipment. It only applies to lifting equipment that is used for work, so in most cases the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) will also apply.
Regulation 8(2) of LOLER defines a lifting operation as
‘… an operation concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load’
LOLER states that all lifting operations and use of lifting equipment must be carried out by a competent person, which means someone with the correct skills, knowledge, training and experience to do so.
Sufficient time, resources and supervision also needs to be allocated to each lifting operation in order for it to be carried out in a safe manner.
Examples of lifting equipment that might be used in the events industry:
- Vehicle tail lifts and cranes fitted to vehicles, such as hiabs.
- Telehandlers and fork lifts
- Lifting accessories (eg. chains, hooks, spreader beams)
- Truss motors and chain hoists
The Health & Safety Executive explains that
“LOLER also requires that all equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task, suitably marked and, in many cases, subject to statutory periodic ‘thorough examination‘. Records must be kept of all thorough examinations and any defects found must be reported to both the person responsible for the equipment and the relevant enforcing authority.”
The record of the examination of lifting equipment must include:
- The examination date
- The date when the next thorough examination is due
- Any defects found which are (or could potentially become) a danger to people
Where serious defects are identified, the competent person carrying out the examination must immediately report this verbally to the duty holder. This should then be followed by the written report, a copy of which must also be sent to the relevant enforcing authority.
LOLER regulations 1998 stipulate that lifting equipment has to be:
- Installed correctly and in a position that complies with health and safety at work guidelines
- Capable of withstanding the heavy load it is designed for and not used for loads exceeding this
- Marked to indicate the safe loading limit
- Used correctly and in a safe manner by people who are competent (with the correct skills, knowledge, training and experience.)
The HSE makes a series of recommendations designed to ensure that lifting equipment and operations are safe.
- Only use certified lifting equipment, marked with its safe working load, which is not overdue for examination
- Keep the reports of thorough examinations as well as any declarations of conformity or test certificates
- Make sure the load is properly attached to the lifting equipment. If necessary, securely bind the load to prevent from it slipping or falling off
- Before lifting an unbalanced load, ascertain its centre of gravity by raising it a few inches off the ground and pausing so that there will be little harm if it drops
- Use packaging to prevent the load’s sharp edges from damaging slings and don’t allow lifting tackle to be damaged by being dropped, dragged from under loads or subjected to sudden loads
- If using jib cranes, make sure any indicators for safe loads are working properly and set correctly for the job and the way the machine is configured
- Use outriggers where necessary
- When employing a crane, ensure that it has an anemometer (wind speed monitor) installed & in working order and that the supervisor is aware of what the maximum wind speed is that a load can be safely lifted.
- Employ a responsible banks man and use a recognised signalling system
- Don’t use unsuitable equipment such as makeshift, damaged, badly worn chains shortened with knots, kinked or twisted wire ropes, frayed or rotted fibre ropes
- Don’t exceed the safe working load of machinery or accessories like chains, slings and grabs
- Don’t lift a load if its weight is undetermined or the adequacy of the equipment is not ensured
Truss Rigging Example
One of the most common lifting operations in the events industry is rigging truss or set using either powered or manual chains hoists. Due to the high risk of the activity and potentially catastrophic consequences if it goes wrong, it is one of the most highly regulated areas of event production.
Key areas that need to be considered are:
- Has a person will sufficient skills, knowledge, training and experience approved the rigging plan that shows where the points will be rigged and what weight loading each be put on each point?
- Has the rigging plan been designed within the operational limits of the supplied rigging equipment?
- When rigging in venues or temporary structures, do you have certification from a competent person that the rigging points in the structure have the capacity to take that load shown on the rigging plan? Eg. Is the roof strong enough to take what you are about to hang in it?
- Has all the equipment (including shackles & strops) passed LOLER inspection and are the certificates available for inspection?
- What evidence do you have that the riggers have sufficient training, skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work?
- Does the rigging company’s risk assessment & method statement have adequate controls to mitigate the risks of working at height?