LOLER, PUWER & Thorough Examination – The Basics


Routine maintenance is vital for maximising your handling equipment lifespan and efficiency, it can also highlight any dangerous faults.

Safe and effective manual handling operations depend on the regular maintenance of the equipment and accessories that are being utilised. Any failure of equipment can result in serious and even fatal injuries.

Health & Safety Law consequently places a number of specific obligations on those providing, controlling, and using manual handling equipment to properly manage these risks.

These checks are necessary to verify that the equipment can continue to be used safely and professionally.
LOLER – Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
Applicable to: All business and organisations whose employees use lifting equipment, whether owned by them or not.

Includes: Controls, tilt mechanism, masts, chains, load backrest, attachment/side shift, carriage, forks, hydraulics and rating plate.

LOLER requires that all equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task, is suitably marked, and in many cases subject to statutory periodic Thorough Examinations. 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. LOLER only inspections will pick up defects in lifting components like forks and chains, but will not check aspects covered by PUWER – such as brakes, steering & safety equipment. An examination which only covers LOLER can leave the handling equipment owner liable to HSE enforcement under PUWER 98 rules.

PUWER – Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
Applicable to: All businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment whether owned by them or not.
Includes: Steering, overhead guard/cab, safety systems, structural fastenings, traction system, counter weight, wheels, tyres, seat restraint, seat mounting, chassis and brakes.
PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is maintained in a safe condition and is inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and is not subject to deterioration. Equipment should be used only by people who have received satisfactory information, instruction and training. All equipment should be accompanied by suitable health & safety measures such as protective devices and controls. These will normally include emergency stop buttons, adequate means of isolation from sources of energy, and clearly visible marking and warning devices. Any lifting equipment must also meet the requirements of LOLER.

Thorough Examination
Under UK Law ALL manual handling equipment must have a valid Thorough Examination Certificate. Users should be clear that a comprehensive Thorough Examination which checks the equipment in accordance with LOLER and PUWER is something they need IN ADDITION to maintenance. Just as a car needs an MOT and a routine service, you must have both.
Unless there is an examination scheme specifying other intervals, Thorough Examinations should be conducted at least every:

  • 6 months, for lifting equipment and any associated accessories used to lift people
  • 6 months, for all lifting accessories
  • 12 months for all other lifting equipment

If your service included the fitting of any new parts covered by LOLER, then a Thorough Examination must also be carried out before use. It may also be required following any accident or dangerous incident, a change in conditions of use, or long periods of inactivity.
Thorough Examination must only be undertaken by a “competent person”. This term is used in Law to distinguish from other people who may just undertake servicing, maintenance and associated inspections. The competent person must have appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the equipment, which can help them detect defects/weaknesses to assess whether they will affect the continued safe use of the equipment. This person must be sufficiently independent and impartial to make objective decisions.
Only companies that are officially accredited to CFTS are allowed to use the distinctive “kite mark” on literature, certification and reports – and to place the CFTS stickers on equipment they inspect.
Stanley Handling are CFTS accredited to carry out Thorough Examinations ensuring key components such as brakes and steering WILL be checked along with the lifting mechanism.

See when your equipment is next due for Thorough Examination using this handy tool from the CFTS http://www.thoroughexamination.org/how-often-is-thorough-examination-required