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Any employer or self-employed person that provides lifting equipment or undertakes lifting operations in the workplace must ensure that the equipment is safe. This means managing and controlling any possible risk to avoid injury or harm to workers and damage to surroundings.
In general, if the equipment lifts people or directly attaches a load, for example, chains or web slings, then it requires an inspection every six months.

Most other equipment will require an inspection every 12 months. However, be aware there are exceptions so if you are in doubt, please contact us and we will be happy to offer advice.

What counts as ‘lifting equipment’?

Lifting equipment is any work equipment for lifting and lowering loads. The definition includes attachments used to anchor, fix or support the equipment (such as the runway of an overhead crane). Examples of lifting equipment include:
• Patient hoists
• Goods and passenger lifts
• Forklift trucks
• Motor vehicle lifts

For more information on other lifting equipment, the HSE has a useful guide.

What is a Thorough Examination?

A Thorough Examination is a methodical and comprehensive examination of lifting equipment, including a visual examination and inspection of safety-critical parts. It is intended to highlight any defects that are, or may become, dangerous. The examination must be carried out by a competent person at the correct intervals for each particular type of equipment and the day-to-day environment where it is in operation. A full written report must be provided and full record-keeping must be kept.

How often should you inspect lifting equipment?

Thorough Examinations should be conducted every:

6 months: For any equipment and accessories used to lift people, or protective equipment such as harnesses and lanyards.

6 months: For all lifting accessories (lifting equipment for attaching loads to machinery, such as slings and shackles).

12 months: For all other lifting equipment (Work equipment for lifting and lowering loads, such as forklift trucks or vehicle lifts. This includes attachments used to anchor, fix, or support the equipment such as the runway of an overhead crane).

The competent person carrying out the examination may ask for inspections to be carried out more frequently depending on the condition of the item and the operating conditions.

A Thorough Examination will help to identify any issues before they become serious and should also be carried out:

• Before use for the first time, unless the item is new and has a declaration of conformity not more than 12 months old.
• After assembly if the item was assembled on site.
• After any exceptional circumstances, such as being out of use for a long time or major damage.
• After any major change in how the item is used that may affect its integrity.

In addition to a Thorough Examination under LOLER, the person responsible for the lifting equipment must carry out regular and reasonable checks before use.

Who can carry out lifting inspections?

The term ‘competent person’ is not defined in law but the LOLER Approved Code of Practice and guidance states that:

“You should ensure that the person carrying out a thorough examination has such appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment.”

The competent person should also be sufficiently independent and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made.

About Plant Inspection Services

Our staff are chosen for their combination of technical qualifications, experience, and expertise, which enable them to react quickly and appropriately to real-life situations.

Our lifting and pressure engineers are affiliated with the Bureau of Engineer Surveyors and the Society of Operations Engineers. All our engineers are actively encouraged to participate in Continuous Professional Development by attending technical seminars, delivered both in-house and by external technical bodies.

Plant Inspection Services provide an extensive range of inspection services, including LOLER Testing and Thorough Examinations. As we don’t provide maintenance work to our clients, we don’t profit from any recommendations that we make and are ideally placed to adhere to LOLER’s requirement for impartiality.

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