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Do you have a passenger lift in your building?

Learn the difference between maintenance, inspections and examinations.

If your building has a lift then you need to understand LOLER Regulations and how often your lift should be managed. You as a business owner or employer have a legal responsibility to make sure that lifts being used on your premises are maintained and are kept in safe working order.

LOLER stands for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (1998).  It outlines the requirements and regulations for anyone who owns or is ‘responsible for the safe operation of a lift used at work’.

It states three separate types of actions that should be carried out on your passenger lift; preventative maintenance, inspections and thorough examinations.

Preventative Maintenance

This is considered to be general maintenance of your lift to ensure it’s functionality and effectiveness. It will consist of ongoing services at regular intervals to find out if your lift needs any repairs or replacements.

Usually, preventative maintenance is carried out your lift installation company at intervals of 2, 3 or 6 months. The frequency of maintenance visits will depend on your risk assessment and should consider factors such as how old the lift is, where the lift is located, the size of the lift and frequency of


Inspections on your lift should be carried out at suitable intervals to assess it’s safety. It will complement preventative maintenance and sometimes be done at the same time but whereas maintenance is focussed on replacing damaged or worn parts/topping up fluid levels, inspections focus on the safety aspect of the lifts operations.

These inspections can be completed in-house by a trained employee or you can bring a third-party company to do it on your behalf. Inspections include visual and functional checks, eg that the alarm interlocks operate correctly and lift doors cannot be opened from the landing side.

Thorough examinations

These types of examinations are often confused with inspections because of their similar nature and name. However, it’s important to note the key differences between the two.

Unlike inspections, thorough examinations are mandatory actions which must be carried out on your lift. The examination is a more comprehensive and detailed activity than an inspection and it must be carried out a certified, competent person. As a result, most businesses will employ a third-party organisation to carry out these examinations when they are required.

The purpose of these examinations is to detect any defects which are, or may become dangerous. The competent person will report these defects to the duty holder (for example the employer or landlord) so that the appropriate action can be taken. Think of the examination as the equivalent of an M.O.T. whereby no remedial work is undertaken but recommendations and failures are identified.

Passenger-carrying lifts should have an examination carried out;

  • after substantial and significant changes have been made;
  • at least every six months
  • following ‘exceptional circumstances’ such as damage to, or failure of, the lift, long periods out of use or a major change in operating conditions which is likely to affect the integrity of the equipment.


When first installed, new lifts do not require any initial thorough examination as long as they have been manufactured and installed in accordance with the Lifts Regulations 1997 and have a current declaration of conformity, ie made not more than 12 months before.

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