Back to Previous Page

Thorough Examination (LOLER)

What is Thorough Examination?

Thorough Examination is similar to a vehicle MOT, but for a piece of lifting equipment. Just as your car needs to be tested to ensure its safety and road-worthiness, so too does your lifter.

Thorough Examination is a requirement of current UK Health & Safety legislation. Lifting components are covered by the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98). All other safety related items, such as brakes, steering, wheels etc, are covered by the Provision & Use Of Workplace Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98).

Thorough Examination is not usually covered by routine maintenance. If you would like the servicer of your equipment to carry out equipment Thorough Examinations, you should specify this in your service agreement.

Thorough Examination

What Equipment Requires A Thorough Examination?

All lifting and handling equipment capable of lifting to a height of more than 300mm from the ground will require a Thorough Examination. Equipment includes forklift trucks, counterbalance machines, pallet stackers, scissor lifts, plus other lifters & handlers.

Hand pallet trucks and low lift trucks (non-stacking equipment capable of lifting to 300mm or less) do not require Thorough Examination under LOLER 98, as they do not lift to height. However under PUWER 98, operators of low level movers are still responsible for ensuring that the equipment is safe and fit for purpose. For this reason, operators of low level handlers may also choose to have their equipment Thoroughly Examined.

How Often Should A Thorough Examination Be Carried Out?

The law requires lifting equipment used for goods only, to be Thoroughly Examined at least every 12 months*.
Lifters used for people should be Thoroughly Examined at least every 6 months*.
In addition, your lifting equipment should be Thoroughly Examined if it has been significantly altered, spent a long period out of use, received significant damage, or experienced a major failure.

* Depending on the working environment and frequency of use, a risk assessment may highlight the need for more frequent examination. It is advisable to consult your Health & Safety representative and Thorough Examiner, before deciding on Thorough Examination intervals.

Who Is Responsible For Ensuring That Equipment Receives A Thorough Examination?

If you have purchased your lifting equipment, you are responsible for ensuring it receives a Thorough Examination at the correct intervals.

For lifting equipment covered by a short term contract hire agreement, both you and your hire company are responsible for ensuring that the equipment has received a Thorough Examination.

If you have a long term contract hire agreement for your lifting equipment, you should be aware that your hire company is not legally responsible for ensuring that the equipment has received a Thorough Examination. As the operator of the equipment, you are responsible for ensuring that the equipment has been Thoroughly Examined at the correct intervals.

Who is Qualified To Carry Out A Thorough Examination?

The law states that Thorough Examination should be carried out by a “competent person”. In practice, this means someone who has the technical and practical experience to examine the lifter and detect any defects. The competent person should be independent and impartial. The Thorough Examination should not be carried out by the routine servicer of the equipment, as the servicer would be assessing their own work.

Lifting equipment operators commonly choose an insurance company examiner, a lifting equipment engineering company, or a dedicated inspection organisation, with appropriate accreditation, as their Competent Person.

Further information regarding Thorough Examination, LOLER 98 and PUWER 98 can be found at

You may also find it useful to read the HSE’s short guidance leaflet for owners of lifting equipment, which can be found at

Please feel free to contact us, if you would like to talk to us further about Thorough Examination