Using Papertrail to comply with LOLER: Your complete guide


We’ve put together a fully-loaded guide to complying with LOLER ’98 legislation, and how Papertrail makes it so much easier to show thorough and regular maintenance of the lifting equipment that you need to inspect as part of LOLER compliance. Seriously, if you work in arboriculture, scaffolding services, construction, industrial window cleaning, oil and gas – or any other industry involving lifting and rope access equipment, this post is for you! Read on for the lowdown on how to make stressing over LOLER a thing of the past.

First of all, what is LOLER ’98?

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) places duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment. These duties include creating risk assessments for each piece of lifting equipment, and demonstrating maintenance of lifting equipment through making half-yearly inspections of equipment – checking that everything is in perfect working order, and retiring or replacing any faulty equipment. More on how Papertrail makes this process easy later.

LOLER came into force on 5th December 1998 alongside the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), intended to implement an EU directive with regards to the use of work equipment. There is an interesting overlap between LOLER and PUWER; because lifting equipment is also considered “work equipment”, anyone who has to comply with LOLER also has to comply with PUWER. Indeed, both of these regulations must be met with in order to comply with the HSWA 1974 (Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974). Look out for our article on complying with PUWER in the coming weeks – we can’t wait to share it with you!

Who has to comply with LOLER?

Anyone with responsibility directly or indirectly for work equipment and its use – for example, employers, employees, the self-employed and those who hire work equipment – has to comply with LOLER. Everyone who has responsibility for lifting equipment in their company needs to be aware of LOLER and the procedures in place that will secure compliance.

What is lifting equipment?

According to the HSE, examples of lifting equipment include:

  • overhead cranes and their supporting runways
  • patient hoists
  • motor vehicle lifts
  • vehicle tail lifts and cranes fitted to vehicles
  • a building cleaning cradle and its suspension equipment
  • goods and passenger lifts
  • telehandlers and fork lifts
  • lifting accessories

Lifting accessories are pieces of equipment that are used to attach the load to lifting equipment, providing a link between the two. Any lifting accessories used between lifting equipment and the load may need to be taken into account in determining the overall weight of the load.

Examples of lifting accessories include:

  • fibre or rope slings
  • chains (single or multiple leg)
  • hooks
  • eyebolts
  • spreader beams
  • magnetic and vacuum devices

Further details and examples of equipment covered by LOLER can be found in the Approved Code of Practice and guidance.

What about the load?

The load includes any material, people or animals (or any combination of these) that is lifted by the lifting equipment. Loads are often provided with permanent or semi-permanent fixed or attached points for lifting. In most cases, these are considered to be part of the load.

Examples of loads include:

  • loose bulk materials
  • sacks, bags, pallets and stillages
  • discrete items (such as a large concrete block)
  • machinery and any permanently attached lifting eyes
  • a skip and the lugs fixed to its side

Equipment that’s not covered by LOLER

LOLER is wide in its scope and some equipment might appear to be ‘lifting’ and therefore thought to be covered by LOLER. However, there are some notable exceptions that are not covered by LOLER, including:

  • pallet trucks (where the consequence of the load falling off is very low)
  • roller shutter doors
  • escalators
  • fall arrest ropes
  • tipper trucks
  • dentist chairs (Yep, someone decided it was necessary to write this!)

Using Papertrail to comply with LOLER

Now you know what kind of equipment falls under LOLER, you should also know whether or not you have to comply!

If you have responsibility for any of the types of lifting equipment mentioned above, you are required by LOLER to give your equipment a thorough 6-monthly inspection before completing a report. This report must contain the information required by LOLER Schedule 1, including:

  • the examination date
  • the date when the next thorough examination is due
  • any defects found which are (or could potentially become) a danger to people

Of course, depending on the type, some pieces of lifting equipment will need to be checked more regularly. For example, lifting chains and slings should be checked before every use, but lift trucks may only need to be checked on a monthly basis. In any case, with Papertrail, you can set daily, weekly, monthly or 6-monthly inspection schedules for all your equipment, and get notified whenever another inspection is due – so you’ll never forget to make them!

If you have lots of LOLER equipment as many of our clients do, using Papertrail to record these inspections and create the reports needed for LOLER compliance is so much easier and less time-consuming. Here’s how to carry out your 6-monthly inspection report in two simple steps:

1. Carry out an inspection


First, you need to have created an online record of the piece of lifting equipment you’re inspecting (it’s easy, just do this).

After which, you’re ready to inspect! Consult the inspection guidelines provided by the manufacturer, and ensure you check each piece of equipment for wear and tear according to what’s stated. LOLER requires you to first assess the equipment visually, before performing functional checks. With some lifting equipment, traditional non-destructive testing and load testing may also be required as part of the process.

If everything has been checked and is functioning normally, record the inspection like in the screenshot above, with the state of the equipment reading “Checked – Good”.

You should also set the next inspection date for six months’ time – inspection frequencies can also be set up when creating the record.

2. Produce an inspection report

Now that’s been inspected and recorded in Papertrail, you can now navigate to the folder that contains the piece of equipment and create the required report.

Click on the record, and once you have confirmed that the inspection information is correct, select the drop down arrow adjacent to the folder name and select ‘Print/Export’.


Next, select the ‘PDF/OPEN’ option. This will bring up the report/certificate view that will be produced for you.

You can now both print a copy of your report and, more importantly, save a copy of the report that can then be retained within Papertrail. This can then be produced upon request at any time in the next six months to show compliance with LOLER. The report looks like this:


See, it’s simple!

No longer do you need a complex system of paper records or spreadsheets to comply with LOLER. Papertrail helps you manage, inspect and maintain LOLER equipment across your entire business. 

If you’d like to review how effective your current PPE management system is at helping you comply with LOLER, whether you’re using paper, spreadsheets or another specialised application, check out our FREE 5-step review workbook to find out:

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