Working with LOLER in the moving industry

Sep 06 | 2022

P.Airey Tail Lifts looks at Lifing Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and applies them specifically to the moving industry.

Working with LOLER in the moving industryThe moving industry involves operating specialist equipment, moving heavy items, driving large vehicles, and other dangerous tasks. If precautions are not taken and rules ignored, serious accidents can happen. Accidents will generate a range of consequences, from injury or loss of life to operational disruption, which will significantly impact your business. Thankfully, you can easily implement measures to avoid a negative effect on your business.

In this article, P. Airey Tail Lifts explains how moving companies can comply with the UK’s LOLER requirements and how they are affected by the regulation.

What are the unique risks?
The moving industry can create dangerous environments. The sector has a range of unique health and safety risks, some of which we will discuss in this section.

Firstly, we should consider the type of goods that businesses usually handle. Workers will often transport heavy and fragile items such as furniture, glass, products, etc. These items can cause serious injury if they fall and land on a person, making their presence an apparent hazard. Moving the goods will often involve equipment and vehicles, which create additional risks. Some goods can be even more dangerous if their contents include hazardous materials such as chemicals.

Some of the most common workplace accidents in this sector include forklift accidents, being hit by an object, slips and trips, falling from a height, malfunctioning equipment, getting trapped in equipment, and overexertion.

The meaning behind the LOLER regulations
So what exactly is LOLER? The UK government introduced the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations in 1998. The regulations aimed to improve workplace safety by reducing the number of accidents when using heavy lifting equipment at work. While LOLER applies to any industry, it is most notable in certain sectors, such as moving.

Lifting equipment can be extremely dangerous and result in serious accidents if the equipment is faulty or used incorrectly. This is why LOLER was brought in, to ensure equipment is adequate for the intended purpose. LOLER outlines a series of procedures and responsibilities to improve safety, including planning lifting operations, testing equipment, using competent workers, and supervising operations, to name just a few.

A key part of the regulations is the legal requirement of a regular inspection. LOLER inspections are required every 6 to 12 months, depending on the type of equipment used. Equipment should also undergo thorough examinations before first use, when it is installed at another site, or if it is exposed to conditions that may cause deterioration.

The regulations specifically apply to the use of lifting equipment for work purposes. Examples of equipment that usually fall under LOLER include cranes, forklift trucks, vehicles with tail lifts, and pallet trucks. These are all examples of equipment that can affect moving businesses. Failure to comply with the regulations means you may receive a fine of as much as £250,000. The most serious incidents can lead to company director disqualification and even imprisonment.

What a LOLER inspection involves
As mentioned above, one of the most important aspects of LOLER is regular examinations. A LOLER inspection can only be carried out by a competent person, which is defined as someone who possesses the knowledge required to identify issues with the equipment and how it is used. The inspector aims to assess whether the equipment works as intended and if it is operated correctly. The inspector must be impartial and independent and not inspect equipment that they routinely maintain themselves.

When performing an inspection, the inspector will examine the equipment’s mechanisms, how it has been maintained, and how it is operated. Any attachments used to fix, anchor or support the equipment will also be inspected. It is the duty of the inspector to use their judgement in determining what the thorough examination should involve. Generally speaking, the inspection will cover every aspect of safety affected by operating the lifting equipment, including components that can deteriorate with time.

Methods that the inspector will conduct include a visual examination of the equipment, assessing whether it looks in good condition and if required markings are visible. Equipment should be displayed with a Safe Working Loads, informing workers of the machine’s limits. They will then perform a functional test to check how the equipment reacts when operated, as well as a load test. If the inspector identifies any defects or components that need replacing, this should be immediately reported to the responsible person. The equipment must then be put out of action and not used again until the defect has been rectified.

After an inspection has been completed, the inspector will provide you and the relevant authority body with a written report. The report will detail the equipment’s condition, state whether LOLER is being adhered to or not, outline any defects that have been identified, and recommended further steps. You should keep hold of this report has proof that an inspection has been carried out.

The consequences of breaking LOLER
The main consequence of either not following the regulations or failing to stick to regular LOLER inspections is clear to see. This approach is not only illegal, but will mainly increase the risk of serious accidents taking place, causing harm to your employees. LOLER is primarily there to maintain good practice when operating lifting equipment in the workplace. Poor maintenance can lead to parts becoming faulty and deteriorating before problems are identified, while improper use will eventually lead to an accident. LOLER ultimately aims to avoid all of these kinds of issues.

It's not just about preventing accidents, but keeping your company safe in the eyes of the law. LOLER is a legal requirement that you must follow. If you break any of the rules or don’t keep up with your inspection schedule, the Health and Safety Executive will be likely to take action against your company. Punishments can vary, but the first action is usually a warning and increased observations followed by a fine. You may have to pay a fine anywhere from a few thousand to as much as £750,00 if an accident takes place due to you not complying with the regulations. In the most serious of cases, imprisonment may be possible as well as disqualification from managing a company. An accident can have a significant financial impact on your business, especially if it drives people away from hiring you.

This article should have hopefully provided helpful information on the importance of LOLER and how it can safeguard your moving company. It’s not just about adhering to the regulations but about keeping your employees safe and preventing accidents. If you avoid accidents, your workers won’t pick up life-changing injuries, your operations won’t be disrupted, and your business will not receive a hefty fine.