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Lifting Equipment & Operations

What is lifting equipment?

Items such as cranes, lifts, hoists, chains, ropes, slings, hooks, shackles, eyebolts, rope and pulley systems, scissor lift, vehicle tail lift, front-end loader on a tractor, patient hoist and fork lift trucks are all examples of lifting equipment whether designed to lift goods or people. Lifting equipment also includes any supporting item e.g. bolt used to wall mount a lifting arm, the runway of an overhead crane or eyebolt, whether used to lift or to permanently anchor, fix or support the lifting equipment. Whilst the exclusions in relation to what constitutes lifting equipment is given below, always seek advice from the Health and Safety DepartmentLink opens in a new window if uncertain whether you should consider your item as lifting equipment or not. It's always worth noting that although lifting equipment is subject to strict regulatory control, this should not negate the need for regular checks, inspections, maintenance and servicingLink opens in a new window to be conducted for work equipmentLink opens in a new window that may be under your control as per manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

Excluded from these definitions are

  • Lifting points or brackets which are permanently fixed to equipment, which support rather than lift. These will be designed to be of adequate strength for the purpose intended, but will not be registered or treated as lifting equipment.
  • Lifting that does not involve the use of work equipment is covered in the Lifting and Handling topic pages.
  • Work equipment used to move items horizontally, such as a sack barrow, pallet truck, gas cylinder carrier or conveyor are not considered items of lifting equipment. If you are using equipment such as this for moving goods, please refer to the work equipment and lifting & handling webpages.

Requirements for safe use of lifting equipment 

Lifting equipment and operations are subject to strict regulatory requirements as defined under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). These regulations require all lifting operations involving lifting equipment to be properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and to be carried out in a safe manner. 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 periodic statutory inspection referred to as 'thorough examination'

Anyone who manages lifting equipment or lifting operations must check and maintain the equipment used and plan lifting operations including those that involve lifting people and incorporate the equipment used into a formal statutory testing regime. Departments must ensure that their equipment are recorded on the Statutory Inspection Report FormLink opens in a new window

External guidance in the safe use of lifting equipment is provided on the right hand side of this page.

From a University perspective, there are a number of practical requirements for the safe use of lifting equipment which need to be carried out before using lifting equipment and if equipment is being hired, then the following guidelines should be followed.

How do I carry out a Lifting Operation?

The following pages have been designed to provide you with information on how to plan and carry out a lift safely and will explain what competency you need to do this and how to minimise the risks associated with the lifting operation, whether lifting goods or people.

In addition to this, it provides some brief information in what to do if you find defective equipment, what to expect to be in place when hiring in lifting equipment and some specific guidance around fork lift trucks and cranes.

Information relating to hoists used to lift people is included in the equipment for lifting people guidance.