Thorough Examination

What is Thorough Examination?
Thorough Examination is similar to an MOT test, 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 lifting equipment.

Thorough Examination is a requirement of current 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 want the servicer of your equipment to carry out Thorough Examinations as well, you should specify this requirement in your service agreement.

  Thorough Examination
What Equipment Requires A Thorough Examination?
Any materials handling equipment which is capable of lifting to a height of more than 500mm from the ground will require a Thorough Examination. Equipment includes forklift trucks, counterbalance machines, pallet stackers, scissor lifts, plus other lifters and handlers.

Hand pallet trucks and low lift trucks (non-stacking equipment capable of lifting to 500mm or less) do not require Thorough Examination under LOLER 98, as they do not lift to height. However, operators of low level movers are responsible for ensuring that the equipment is safe and fit for purpose under PUWER 98, and therefore operators may also specify a Thorough Examination for their low level movers.

How Often Should A Thorough Examination Be Carried Out?
The law requires lifting equipment to be Thoroughly Examined at least every 12 months for equipment that carries loads only.
Lifters used to carry people should be Thoroughly Examined at least every 6 months.
Your lifting equipment should also receive a Thorough Examination if it has been significantly altered, spent long periods out of use, or has experienced a major failure.
A risk assessment may highlight the need for more frequent testing. It is advisable to consult your Thorough Examiner before deciding on 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.

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 they would then 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.