Jason has been writing for Garage Equipment Online for 18 Months and is a specialist content editor for many other web properties. You can find his work across myriad industries and his content currently holds over 300 page 1 rankings on Google.
Last Updated: 21 March 2017
How do LOLER and PUWER Regulations Affect You?
A Brief Introduction to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
This article provides the reader with help and guidance regarding their duty of care and legal requirements of (LOLER) the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) these regulations came into effect in 1998 and serve to provide practical Health and Safety related guidance to not only the motor vehicle repair industry but to all businesses who are involved in the use of lifting equipment as part of their work activities.
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 Explained?
LOLER replaced pre-existing regulations regarding to the use of lifting equipment in the workplace.
The LOLER Regulations are written to help minimise the Health & Safety risks associated with the use of lifting equipment provided for use at work, such use is also governed by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
LOLER places a duty of care on business owners/managers to ensure that lifting equipment in the workplace is;
- Clearly marked with a manufacturers (SWL) safe working load and is suitable for the intended applications.
- That lifting equipment is placed in a suitable position and installed by a competent person so as to reduce any associated risks.
- That all lifting equipment is only ever used in a safe and proper manner under the manufacturer's specifications.
- That lifting equipment is subjected to regular and periodic inspection by competent lifting equipment engineers and documents kept of such for 2 years.
Are Car Lifts Covered by LOLER Regulations?
Yes the regulations apply to all lifting equipment that is used by your employees or yourself as part of your work activities.
You Must Ensure That
- All lifting applications are only ever carried out by trained operatives in a safe and professional manner.
- When a new car lift has been installed into your business premises prior to using it that you are in receipt of an installation certificate from a trained and competent lift installation engineer who certifies the lift as safe for use.
- That Lifting equipment is examined at regular periods ensuring that all working parts are free from damage and safe to use, this is usually conducted by an external company such as Garage Equipment Online's team of car lift installation engineers.
- That the findings of periodic vehicle lift inspections by a trained, competent engineer are documented and that a report is submitted by the competent person to the employer/manager to take recommended remedial action.
- That risk assessments are carried to identify the possible hazards that are posed within the workplace and that all reasonable steps have been implemented to effectively reduce such hazards.
How are LOLER Regulations Enforced?
The Health and Safety Executive have a team of inspectors whose role it is to enforce the Regulations, do not fear they are there to help rather than hinder if you are found to be lacking in some areas they will provide you with advice and assistance to ensure that your duty of care under the regulations are met.
But Rest assured if there are aspects of your businesses lifting practices that are deemed to be dangerous to your employees or members of the public then firm action will be taken.
LOLER & Record Keeping
You are legally required to ensure that reports of thorough examinations are kept available for consideration by health and safety inspectors for at least two years or until the next report, whichever is longer.
They may be kept electronically as long as you can provide a written report if requested.
To gain an understanding of the your Health and Safety requirements in the motor vehicle repair industry in full read document HSG261.
Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)
This information serves to provide guidance on the application of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 and their relevance to the Motor Vehicle Repair Industry (MVR).
The Motor Vehicle Repair Industry has asked many questions regarding the application of PUWER to particular types of garage equipment used within the industry, The enquiries have mostly been concerned with the regulated requirements relating to thorough examination and inspections of all garage equipment supplied by the business for use by employees during their work activities.
While additional clarity on the application of PUWER Regulations is important; the emphasis should always be on the overall procedures in place for managing work activities that involve the use of garage equipment, where thorough examination and inspections have a part to play.
In particular, attention needs to be drawn to the following:
Operator pre-use checks: PUWER reg.4 (suitability of work equipment) includes compulsory requirements for daily visual and physical pre-use checks of work equipment.
Maintenance: the maintenance requirements of work equipment under PUWER reg.5 States that:
- Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in a safe working condition, in efficient working order and in good repair.
- The employer shall ensure that where all work related machinery has a maintenance log and that such records are kept up to date.
(PUWER reg.6); and thorough examination and inspection (LOLER reg.9) where applicable, should be seen as a related package of requirements under your duty of care.
The requirements of PUWER and LOLER act together, PUWER relates with non-lifting aspects of work equipment, such as the correct selection of work equipment for a specific task, proper maintenance and training regimes and such, LOLER covers all lifting aspects from initial installation of vehicle servicing lifts, the way in which lifting operations are carried out and thorough examination requirements.
PUWER and LOLER are risk-based guidelines, great importance should be placed on conducting in-depth risk assessments to help determine the nature and frequency of maintenance and inspections regimes.
Guidance on appropriate maintenance and inspection frequencies daily, weekly, monthly, six monthly or annual inspections by a trained, competent person is provided in document BS7980:2003 “Vehicle lifts, lift specific advice should be available from the garage equipment distributor who supplied the lift.
The significance of maintaining your businesses work equipment should not be taken lightly and should consist of:
- Operator pre-use checks.
- Proper and regular servicing & maintenance Regimes in accordance with the manufacturers specifications carried out by trained competent persons.
PUWER 98 and the Motor Vehicle Repair Industry
All equipment used at work ('work equipment') is covered under PUWER. Equipment that is not not owned by the business but being used by it as part of their work activities for example a tool owned by an employee, a borrowed tool or a customer's bottle jack, is also covered and is the direct responsibility of the operative to ensure that it fully complies with all legal requirements under the PUWER regulations.
PUWER requires that work equipment is suitable for the purpose to which it is intended. Machinery that features the ‘CE mark’ should be accompanied by an instruction manual which contains information on the normal conditions of use and technical abilities of the machine such as safe working loads and parameters.
All risk assessments undertaken should meet with the requirements of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Management Regulations)³ Regulation 3, risk assessment's should seek to clearly identify any significant risks posed by the use of the work equipment.
Where a regular inspection and maintenance regimes would address such risks, e.g. failure of machinery components through general wear and tear, then PUWER or LOLER regulations would require periodic inspections and/or thorough examination.
The requirements for a comprehensive review also applies before the equipment is commissioned for initial use or it is being relocated to other premises or placed in another part of the workshop relocation and also following exceptional circumstances (e.g. following collision damage to a vehicle lift).
PUWER requires that work equipment that is or could be exposed to adverse conditions which may contribute to its overall deterioration is subjected to thorough inspections at periods determined by risk assessment, ensuring the equipment is adequately maintained and any deterioration detected and remedied within a reasonable timeframe.
Motor Vehicle Repair Equipment PUWER LOLER
Here is a list of garage equipment that is commonplace in the motor vehicle repair industry and a brief explanation of how PUWER and LOLER affect each one.
All car lifts be they 2 post, 4 post, or scissor lifts are subject the thorough examination LOLER (Reg 9(3)).
Where persons are not elevated in a vehicle on the lift Reg 9(3)(a)(ii) would recommend regular inspections are carried out at least every 12 months.
Where there is cause for people to be elevated on the lift or where persons routinely work below the lift then a thorough inspection of the lift and its components should be conducted every six months under Reg 9(3)(a)(i).
Body alignment jigs share many characteristics with vehicle lifts similar considerations will apply, however, due to the fact that people do not regularly work underneath this type of work equipment a 12-monthly periodic inspection is recommended to ensure your businesses compliance.
Trolley Jacks/Bottle Jacks
This type of vehicle lifting equipment has somewhat of a chequered past with the Health and Safety Executive, there have been many reported incidents of persons being fatally and seriously injured as a direct result of working underneath this type of lifting equipment whereby the vehicle has fallen onto them because the jacks have failed. Where portable jacking equipment is used as garage equipment, it should be regarded as lifting equipment and subject to thorough periodic inspection by a trained, competent person. Every 12 months if no one ever works beneath them and every six months if they do.
Manual Handling Aids
Manual handling aids are classed as lifting equipment under LOLER, these types of lifting equipment fall into the low-risk end of the spectrum and are considered suitable candidates for inspection schemes with extended periods between examinations.
Many garages have a low loader at their disposal to facilitate picking up customer vehicles in the event of a breakdown, some recovery vehicles will have lifting devices which are classed as cranes and should be treated as such under LOLER. British Standard BS7121-12 1999 Safe use of cranes - Part 12 Recovery vehicles and equipment, BS7901:2002 Recovery vehicles (product standard) and PAS43:2010 Safe working of vehicle breakdown, recovery and removal operations – Management system specification contain useful information.
The list should not be taken as a comprehensive guide; there are other types of MVR related work equipment that fall under PUWER & LOLER that are not featured here.