9th July, 2024

How Often Should LOLER Equipment Be Inspected?

Lifting equipment should be inspected regularly, as required under LOLER. These inspections are needed on initial use or installation, periodically every six or twelve months depending on the type of equipment, and after exceptional circumstances.

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LOLER stands for the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.

If you're using lifting equipment within your workplace, you'll need to carry out inspections to ensure that the equipment is safe to use. Not just when it is installed, or when things change. But regularly, throughout its life.

Let's take a look at when, and how often, lifting equipment should be examined under LOLER.

Inspecting lifting equipment? Use the LOLER inspection sheet to check the equipment and the operation before lifting commences, and use the LOLER thorough examination form to record your inspections.

Yes, LOLER testing is required by law under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.

And that means if you have or use lifting equipment within your business, you'll need to regularly check that is safe to use. If you don't, you could be breaking the law.

The LOLER law.

picture of a checklist

LOLER is a set of health and safety regulations passed in parliament and came into force in 1998. These regulations are the law when it comes to lifting equipment, and they make the testing of lifting equipment and accessories a legal requirement.

These checks are known as thorough examinations.

“thorough examination” in relation to a thorough examination under paragraph (1), (2) or (3) of regulation 9—

  1. means a thorough examination by a competent person;
  2. where it is appropriate to carry out testing for the purpose described in the paragraph, includes such testing by a competent person as is appropriate for the purpose [...]
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 Interpretation

It is the responsibility of employers to have a competent person carry out inspections of lifting equipment. They should have the experience and knowledge to be able to detect defects

LOLER applies to both lifting equipment and lifting accessories. Both require "thorough examination and inspection" under the regulations.

Regulation 9 puts in place requirements for all lifting equipment to be subject to ‘thorough examination’ at various points.

So when exactly does lifting equipment need to be tested under LOLER?

picture of an equipment inspection tag

Is LOLER 6 months or 12 months?

People often think that LOLER inspections are needed every 6 or 12 months. And they do - but that's not all.

LOLER thorough examinations are needed:

So any lifting equipment will need to be checked on initial use or following installation. After that, lifting equipment needs in-service thorough examinations. These are required periodically to ensure it remains safe to use, and following any circumstances that may make it unsafe (for example damage, a significant change in conditions, or long periods out of use).

Between first use and changes in circumstances, you'll need to do periodic examinations during the equipment's life. Even if the lifting equipment hasn't moved and nothing changes. Because even during normal use, wear and tear and deterioration can happen to your equipment.

It's important to check that the equipment is still safe, and is expected to remain safe, until its next check-up.

These periodic inspections should be:

So periodic LOLER thorough examinations should take place at least every six months for lifting equipment used to lift people, at least every six months for all lifting accessories, and at least every 12 months for all other lifting equipment.

And that's at least because you should carry out inspections more often if:

Remember, you'll always need to do extra checks if the equipment is moved or following exceptional circumstances.

picture of persons working with rope access

Which LOLER items need to be examined every 6 months?

Any lifting equipment used to lift people and all lifting accessories should be inspected at least every 6 months.

Examples of lifting equipment used to lift persons include:

All lifting accessories should be inspected at least every six months. It doesn't matter what type of load, or if the equipment is used to lift people or not.

A lifting accessory is the equipment that attaches a load to lifting equipment. For example slings, chains, ropes, shackles, spreaders etc.

picture of a lifting hook

Which LOLER items need to be examined every 12 months?

All other lifting equipment (not used for people or an accessory used to attach a load to lifting equipment) should be inspected at least every 12 months.

Examples of lifting equipment include:

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What are exceptional circumstances?

Under LOLER, you'll need to examine lifting equipment sooner than your regular intervals in the event of exceptional circumstances. But what are "exceptional circumstances"?

Exceptional circumstances are events that can affect the safe use of the equipment by causing damage or premature deterioration.

Examples of LOLER exceptional circumstances include:

Any events like these could make or indicate that your lifting equipment has become unsafe and should be examined again.


Inspecting lifting equipment? Use the LOLER inspection sheet to check the equipment and the operation before lifting commences, and use the LOLER thorough examination form to record your inspections.

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This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.

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