A Guide to L.O.L.E.R and P.U.W.E.R. and the Real Cost of an Accident


In recent years, the real cost of accidents to society in the United Kingdom has ranged from £6BN to £11BN annually. This typically represents 2% – 3% of the U.K.’s annual Gross Domestic Product.

Associated with each accident are three cost elements:-

  1. Insured Costs
  2. Uninsured costs
  3. Fee For Intervention (F.F.I.) charges if investigated by the Health and Safety Executive

For every £1.00 of insured costs, there can be anything from £8.00 to £36.00 in uninsured costs.

Although difficult to quantify, there are many consequential losses to be faced in the aftermath of an accident. These can be categorised and itemised in the following way:-

(1) Legal Issues:

  • Penalties
  • Adverse publicity
  • Personal convictions
  • Enforcement notices

(2) Economic Issues:

  • Fines
  • Legal costs (as above)
  • Investigations (by H & SE or other)
  • Loss of management time
  • Disruption and downtime
  • Loss of reputation
  • Sick leave and training of replacement staff
  • Loss of business after event
  • Loss of morale and goodwill

(3) Moral Issues:

  • Pain / Suffering
  • Mental stress
  • Loss of earnings
  • Extra expenditure
  • Continued disability
  • Loss of life / Life shortening
  • Incapacity

Although not exhaustive, the above lists serve to illustrate the extent to which costs can escalate in the aftermath of an accident.


There are many Statutory Instruments, Codes of Practice, and general information available from the H & SE and from other sources. Under consideration here are The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. The aim of complying with these regulations is to make working life safer for all.


Focusing on the LOLER Regulations, these cover anyone who has control of or use of lifting equipment. Lifting equipment must be sufficiently strong, stable, and suitable for its proposed use. Also, lifting equipment should be positioned or installed in such a way as to prevent risk of injury. Further, it needs to be marked with its Safe Working Load and with any geometric restrictions (such as the included angle between chain legs in a multiple chain sling), and each item must be marked with its own unique identification number.

All lifting equipment must undergo a thorough examination before its first use, and must undergo subsequent examinations at regular intervals thereafter. Additionally, before lifting equipment is used, lifting operations should be planned, supervised, and carried out by competent people. Further, where equipment is used to lift people, it should be marked accordingly and be safe for the purpose.

Regarding frequency of examination, all lifting tackle and accessories, and all equipment used for lifting people must be inspected at least every six months, and at least annually for all other equipment. If the equipment is used frequently on extended hours working, the examination frequency may need to be increased to reflect this. All examination work should be carried out by a ‘competent person’, who should then submit the examination reports to the Employer / Owner to take appropriate action.

A competent person is an individual nominated by the Employer to carry out thorough examinations on the basis of his or her level of knowledge of the equipment, defects and their causes, methods of testing, and fault diagnosis. He or she must be independent of the Employer’s line management, although the competent person can be in-house or from an external organisation.

Typical LOLER – classified equipment and their normal inspection frequencies are listed as follows:

  • Cranes – all types – 12 months (or 6 months if lifting persons in a mancage)
  • Hoists, chain blocks, pull-lifts, beam trolleys, gantries, pillar jibs etc. – 12 months
  • Lifting Tackle – all types – 6 months
    Suspended Access Equipment and Building Maintenance Units – 6 months
  • Latchway Safety Cable Systems – 6 months
  • Mobile Elevating Work Platforms – all types – 6 months
  • Vehicle Lifts – all types – 6 months
  • Hydraulic Jacks – all types – 12 months
  • Fork Lift Trucks – all types – 6/12 months
  • Order Pickers – all types – 6 months
  • Scissor Platform Hoists – 6 months
  • Tailboard Loaders – 6 months
  • 360 Deg. Hydraulic Excavators – all types – 12 months
  • Grabs – all types – 12 months
  • Wheeled Loading Shovels – all types – 12 months
  • 180 Deg. Excavator Loaders – all types – 12 months
  • Excavator / Tractor Attachments – all types – 12 months
  • Skip Hoists – 12 months
  • Telescopic Load Handlers – 12 months
  • Patient Hoists and Patient Slings – 6 months


Moving on to the PUWER Regulations, these cover anyone who provides equipment for use at work, or who has control of the use of equipment. The work equipment provided must be suitable for use, and for the purpose and conditions in which it is used. It should be maintained in a safe condition for use so that people’s health and safety is not at risk. It should be inspected, in certain circumstances, to ensure that it is and continues to be safe for use.

An inspection should be carried out by a competent person (this could be an employee if they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to perform the task) and a record kept until the next inspection. However, for equipment of the types listed below, it would be normal practice to entrust these examinations to a LOLER Inspector.

Risks created by using the equipment should be eliminated where possible or controlled as far as reasonably practicable by:-

(1) taking appropriate ‘hardware’ measures, eg providing suitable guards, protection devices, markings, and warning devices, system control devices (such as emergency stop buttons) and personal protective equipment; and

(2) taking appropriate ‘software’ measures such as following safe systems of work (eg ensuring maintenance is only performed when equipment is shut down etc), and providing adequate information, instruction, and training about the specific equipment.

A combination of these measures may be necessary depending on the requirements of the work, your assessment of the risks involved, and the practicability of such measures.

Typical PUWER – classified equipment and their normal inspection frequencies are listed as follows:-

  • Bullldozers – 12 months
  • Conveyors – 12 months
  • Haulage Winches (horizontal use) – 12 months
  • Forklift Ramps – 12 months
  • Pallet Trucks – 12 months
  • Dock Levellers – 12 months
  • Reach Truck Pallet Racking – 6/12 months
  • Roller Shutter Doors – 12 months
  • Ladders and Steps – 12 months
  • Bearing Presses – 12 months
  • Gymnasium Equipment – 12 months
  • Recreational / Playground Equipment – 12 months
  • Dumpers – all types – 12 months


In conclusion, complying with all relevant Health and Safety Regulations involving all lifting equipment and work equipment, and complying with all relevant safe working practices will serve to minimise accidents and losses resulting from them.


L.O.L.E.R. & P.U.W.E.R.

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