The LEEA has responded to the UK Government’s review of health and safety legislation by voicing support for retaining LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) in its present form. The LEEA believes that watering down LOLER, or merging it with PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations), is unlikely to reap any significant cost savings for industry, but could undermine standards of safety in overhead lifting.
Commenting on the Government initiative to reduce the burden of health and safety legislation, Geoff Holden, chief executive of the LEEA, said: “We recognise the potential to streamline the overall health and safety framework in the UK. However, the LEEA believes that LOLER represents a sensible and flexible approach to overhead lifting, and should be maintained.”
The LEEA has made its views known via the consultation and review process that was led for the Government by Professor Löfstedt. Geoff Holden said: “When it was introduced in 1998, LOLER made life much more straightforward for duty holders. Instead of a patchwork of different rules and regulations, it provided a single piece of legislation that applied to all lifting equipment and lifting operations, across every industry. As well as being well accepted in the UK, an increasing number of companies operating in the developing world have chosen to adopt LOLER as best practice. This would tend to support the idea that it is both a reasonable and effective basis for safe overhead lifting.”
Geoff Holdenbelieves that the findings of the Löfstedt Report are encouraging. “The report recognizes the value of risk-based legislation such as LOLER, and acknowledges that problems are often the result of misunderstanding or over-zealous interpretation of the rules, rather than the rules themselves. And whilst it raises the possibility of merging LOLER and PUWER, it confirms that it is hard to make an economic case for doing so.”
Despite the positive findings of the Löfstedt Report, the LEEA remains concerned that the Government’s drive to reduce the amount of health and safety legislation could come at a price.Geoff Holden concluded: “We must not forget that overhead lifting-related accidents remain a significant cause of deaths and serious injuries in the workplace. In addition to the human cost, even relatively minor incidents can have serious economic consequences for the businesses concerned. It is therefore vital that key requirements of LOLER, such as the need to have lifting equipment thoroughly examined on a regular basis, are not watered down. We would urge any companies or organizations with an interest in safe lifting to make their views on LOLER known via their local MP.”
Established in 1944, the LEEA has over 550 member companies worldwide and campaigns vigorously for higher standards of safety within the lifting industry. In addition to providing members with training and expert technical advice, the association works closely with organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive in the preparation of regulations and British, European and International standards. Member companies include those involved in the design, manufacture, hire, repair, refurbishment, test, examination, verification and use of lifting equipment. Applicants are subject to an initial technical audit before full membership is granted, and then to a continuing programme of assessments. For large scale users of overhead lifting equipment, associate membership provides benefits such as access to technical information and training, without the need for auditing. Further details on the activities of the LEEA and a full list of members can be found at: www.leeaint.com