Work equipment procedure 

(including lifting equipment) – Issue 4 – March 2018


This procedure sets out a consistent way of managing risks arising from the use of work equipment, including mobile and lifting equipment, across Hampshire County Council (HCC). The aim is to secure compliance with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and therefore operate all our equipment safely.


This procedure relates to equipment, including mobile and lifting equipment, used by an employee, or volunteer, at work. It does not cover privately-owned cars. It covers lifts used by members of the public in HCC premises, but it does not cover lifting equipment purchased by a member of the public, for example a user of care services, solely for their own use at home.

The procedure is divided into three main parts:

Work equipment is any item of machinery, tools or other equipment used at work. Examples include hand tools, photocopiers, ladders, lifting equipment and vehicles.

Lifting equipment includes any equipment used at work for lifting or lowering loads. Examples include hoists, lifts, forklift trucks, vehicle inspection platform hoists and mobile elevating work platforms.

Thorough examination is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals by a competent person who must then complete a written report.

Lifting accessories are load-bearing items used with lifting equipment. Examples include slings, shackles and eyebolts.


General requirements


The health and safety elements of selecting suitable work equipment are covered in Corporate Health & Safety Procedure for Procurement.

New and hired-in equipment, even when CE marked, must still be checked for obvious faults before being put into use e.g. to confirm that all necessary guards and protective devices are in place. If you think a new piece of equipment is unsafe, do not use it: instead, report any problems to the procurer of the item for referral back to the supplier or hirer.

Risk Assessment

HCC’s arrangements for undertaking risk assessments are detailed in the Corporate Health & Safety Procedure for Risk assessment.

When carrying out a risk assessment for operations involving work equipment, consider all foreseeable activities in addition to normal use, for example setting up, clearing blockages, cleaning, and maintaining. You must also consider the need for operator training and supervision, particularly when machinery is to be operated by young or inexperienced workers. You do not need to consider foolish intentional misuse (horseplay). However, foreseeable misuse in an attempt to carry out the task should be considered.


All work equipment must be maintained in line with manufacturers’ guidance unless a specific risk assessment has been undertaken to justify this and findings formally recorded.

Maintenance can range from simple checks and periodic replacement of basic equipment, such as hand tools, to planned preventative maintenance regimes for complex machinery. The frequency of maintenance activities should be considered in the relevant risk assessment, taking into account manufacturers’ guidance, intensity of use, the operating environment and the risks arising from malfunction or failure.

Appendix 1 contains a maintenance checklist that managers can use for equipment not already on asset management databases.


Where the safety of work equipment can be significantly affected by its installation or by conditions that can cause deterioration, it will need to be inspected at suitable intervals. Inspections can vary from a simple visual external inspection to a detailed comprehensive one, which may include some dismantling and/or testing. Where inspections are required, they must be carried out in line with manufacturers’ guidance by a competent person.

Appendix 2 contains an inspection checklist that managers can use for equipment not already on asset management databases.

Information, instruction and training

Employees and volunteers must have the knowledge they need to use and maintain work equipment safely.

Where there is a significant risk from the operation of equipment through a lack of competence it is essential that suitable training and instruction is given. This must form part of the risk assessment for the use of the equipment. Each individual user must be authorised in the use of equipment that poses a significant risk and only be authorised when their manager has verified their competence. Other staff should be instructed not to use equipment unless authorised.

Information can be provided verbally where appropriate. Written instructions should include manufacturers’ instructions and operating manuals. They should cover conditions in which equipment can be used, the way it should be used, and how to deal with foreseeable difficulties.

Training will be necessary where control of the risks depends on how the equipment is used. The level of training will vary, depending on the activity and work equipment involved. For high-risk work, such as using a chainsaw, training will need to be provided by specialist instructors. Minimum training requirements for operating mobile work equipment, such as quad bikes and forklift trucks, are detailed in the Corporate Health & Safety Procedure for Transport.

Mobile work equipment

Mobile work equipment may be self-propelled, towed or remote-controlled. Examples include lift trucks, trailers and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Additional requirements for mobile work equipment, such as its suitability for carrying persons and the arrangements for minimising rollover risks, should be addressed during the procurement decision and risk assessment process.

For vehicles designed primarily for travel on public roads, compliance with the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations is normally sufficient to comply with PUWER.

Lifting equipment

Lifting equipment may be portable or a fixed installation and used for lifting people or inanimate objects, this includes any accessory used in the lifting operation. In addition to the requirements of PUWER, managers must ensure that lifting equipment is subject to thorough examination.

LOLER builds on the requirements of PUWER and applies when equipment is provided for those at work or for work purposes such as:
  1. lift trucks and telescopic handlers
  2. hand pallet trucks, specifically those that have the ability to raise the forks
  3. goods lifts or passenger lifts
  4. simple systems such as a rope and pulley
  5. vehicle inspection hoist
  6. a scissor lift or a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP)
  7. ropes used for climbing or work positioning during arboriculture and structural examination of the external structure of a building;
  8. a paper roll hoist on a printing machine
  9. an automated storage and retrieval system
  10. a front-end loader on a tractor used for raising and lowering loads such as a bale of hay
  11. a hoist or sling used for lifting people from, for example, a bed or a bath;
  12. vehicle tail lifts
  13. lifting accessories would include such items as slings, removable eyebolts, chains, ropes, shackles, grabs, magnets, vacuum lifters, crane forks, lifting beams and spreaders

LOLER identifies the requirement for lifting equipment to be subject to a periodic “thorough examination in accordance with a written examination scheme produced by a competent person”. However, this does not replace the necessity for operators to carry out checks to lifting equipment and accessories before use.

Periodic thorough examination is required where equipment is subject to deterioration due to use and where this deterioration could lead to a dangerous situation. The frequency depends on the type of equipment and the purposes for which it is used, e.g. equipment used for lifting people requires more frequent examination. The periods stated are the maximum periods between each examination unless there is an examination scheme produced by a competent person in place, which can specify longer or shorter periods depending on the risk of defects arising.

Guides and Appendices

HSE publication - Providing and using work equipment safely

HSE publication - Approved Code of Practice and guidance for work equipment

HSE publication - A brief guide to using lifting equipment at work

HSE publication - Safe use of lifting equipment

HSE publication - How LOLER applies to health and social care


Appendix 1 – Maintenance Checklist

Appendix 2 – Inspection Checklist

Full Procedure

The full procedure is available as a printable document.