The Ultimate Guide to Lifting Gear Hire

Lifting Equipment Hire
Lifting Gear Hire


Things to consider

  • The different kinds of lifting gear available – Lifting gear covers a very wide range of machines, devices and accessories. You need to consider what type is best suited to the job in hand.
  • Compliance – lifting gear should be CE marked and have a Declaration of Conformity. Those who provide it must comply with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.
  • Safe working load – the nature of the work will have the biggest effect of what kind of lifting gear you hire. All lifting equipment should have a safe working load (SWL) sticker. Legally, you must only lift loads that are within the limits of the SWL.
  • Budget – the range and diversity of equipment available mean that lifting gear hire prices vary wildly, so your budget will play a big part in your decision.


Lifting gear is any machine, device, vehicle or equipment designed to lift, move or lower heavy loads, including attachments for anchoring, supporting or fixing them. It includes everything from jacks, hoists and gantries to forklifts, shear legs and cranes, along with a whole host of other devices and accessories.

Without lifting gear, transportation and positioning of heavy materials would not be possible. This is why lifting devices have existed for as long as humans have been building. The Ancient Greeks invented the first known construction cranes in the late 6th century BC, which were later developed by the Romans to construct larger and more extravagant buildings.

Today, cranes and other lifting devices are commonly used by the transport industry for loading and unloading freight; the construction industry for moving materials; and the manufacturing industry for assembling large, heavy contraptions. Modern lifting gear has developed to make these processes easier, faster and safer.

Why is lifting equipment safety important?

Lifting gear is designed to move heavy loads without hurting yourself or others, or doing damage to property or other equipment. However, you have to use it properly and competently, and the kit itself must be up to scratch. Operating any kind of moving machinery can be dangerous, which is why safety and functionality are vitally important.

Working with lifting equipment and machinery can cause injury in the following ways:

  • You can be hit by moving parts.
  • Parts of your body can get trapped between rollers, chains, belts and pulley drives.
  • You can get crushed between parts moving together or pressed against a fixed part of the machine, wall or other object. Two parts moving past one another can cause shearing.
  • Sharp edges can cause cuts or even sever limbs.
  • Pointed objects can stab or puncture the skin.
  • Rough surface parts can cause friction or abrasion.
  • Parts, materials or emissions (such as water or steam) can be hot or cold enough to cause scalds or burns.
  • Devices powered by electricity can cause electric shocks and burns.
  • Parts of the equipment can fail, causing loads to drop.
  • Poor maintenance of equipment or attachments can lead to dangerous faults developing.

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Lifting gear legal requirements

The main requirements you need to consider come from the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). If you are an employer or self-employed person providing lifting equipment to be used by workers, or you have control of the use of lifting equipment, LOLER applies to you.

Employees have general duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to take reasonable care of themselves and others in a work environment, but do not have specific duties under LOLER.

Workplaces where the Health and Safety at Work Act applies are also covered by LOLER. These include factories, agricultural premises, offices, shops, hospitals, hotels, entertainment venues, and offshore installations.

LOLER sets out the following requirements:

  • All lifting equipment needs to be sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for the proposed use.
  • Loads and attachments (e.g. timber pallets and lifting points) should be suitable.
  • Lifting equipment and loads need to be positioned and installed in such a way that the risk of injury is prevented.
  • All lifting gear, including accessories, must be visibly marked with appropriate safety information, such as a SWL sticker and CE mark. The equipment should also have a Declaration of Conformity.
  • Lifting operations must be planned, supervised and carried out safely by competent people.
  • If the equipment is to be used for lifting people, it should be marked accordingly, and all necessary precautions must have been taken to ensure that it is safe for such a purpose.
  • Lifting equipment should be thoroughly examined by a competent person before first-time use and at regular intervals specified by a competent person or by LOLER (e.g. every six months for accessories and equipment used for lifting people, and a minimum of once a year for all other lifting gear).
  • A full report of all examinations or inspections should be submitted by the competent person to the employer, so that appropriate action can be taken.

Dos and don’ts of lifting safely


  • check that your lifting equipment is certified, appropriate for the job, working properly, marked with its safe working load, and not overdue for inspection;
  • make sure all parts, including attachments, can accommodate the load weight;
  • use the equipment properly, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • make sure the load is properly attached to the lifting gear, and if necessary, bind the load with ratchet lashings to stop it falling or slipping;
  • make sure employees using the equipment wear the necessary protective clothing, e.g. safety shoes and glasses, and protective headwear;
  • if your load is unbalanced, raise it a few inches off the ground, pause lifting, and find its centre of gravity;
  • use packaging to prevent sharp edges of the load from damaging slings;
  • when using jib cranes, ensure that any safe load indicators are functioning properly and configured correctly;
  • where necessary, use outriggers;
  • when using multi-slings, take into account the sling angle; and
  • use a responsible slinger or banksman, and put a recognised signalling system in place.


  • use equipment that is makeshift, damaged, overdue for inspection, or has a danger sign or tag attached to it (which should only be removed by an authorised person once they are satisfied that the equipment is safe and fit for use again);
  • use chains that are badly worn or shortened with knots, frayed or rotted fibre ropes, or kinked/twisted wire ropes;
  • allow tackle to be damaged by being dropped, crushed or subjected to sudden loads;
  • exceed the safe working load of your equipment, as indicated by the SWL sticker;
  • lift a load if you have doubts about its weight or the adequacy of the lifting gear;
  • remove any safeguards, even if they make the job slower or more difficult;
  • wear loose clothing, rings, dangling chains or long hair down (as they could get caught in moving parts); and
  • distract anyone who is using lifting equipment.

The different types of lifting gear

Here are some basic features/uses of the main types of lifting gear, in order to help you decide which product is most appropriate for your needs.

Hoists and winches — these are mechanical devices that use ropes or cables to lift, lower and pull equipment or materials. They are used for everyday lifting and pulling in workshops and on assembly lines, and can be manual or powered.

Cranes — these machines have a projecting arm or beam that is used to lift and transport heavy objects. They come in a variety of forms, including small jib cranes used in workshops, large tower cranes used for constructing tall buildings, and floating cranes used to build oil rigs or salvage sunken ships.

Gantries — these are bridge-like structures that have a chain block attached to an overhead beam, ideal for gaining extra height when lifting.

Lifting accessories — these include slings, hooks, chains, trolleys, cylinders, hand pumps, baskets and block extractors, designed for lifting smaller heavy objects, or for attaching securely to your choice of lifting equipment or machinery.

To find out more about our lifting gear hire options, please call us on 0330 134 6224 or email us at Alternatively, you can request a call back.

Tips before hiring

You need to consider the full range of lifting equipment available to know which piece of kit is best for the job and your budgetary limitations. You need to take into account load weights, where the loads are being transported from and to, and the amount of space you have to manoeuvre. You then need to consider the length of time it will take to complete the job.

At Lakeside-Hire, we have an extensive selection of lifting gear for hire nationwide, all of which is fully checked, tested, certified and cleaned. Our products include adjustable forklift jibs, ratchet hoists, scissor lift tables, shear legs, and much more. We offer free delivery for lifting gear hire periods of 3 weeks or more, and in most cases, our hire prices are 69% lower than all of our competitors.

To find out more about our options, please call us on 0330 134 6224 or email us at Alternatively, you can request a call back.

FAQs about lifting gear hire

1. What is lifting gear?

Any machine, device, vehicle, equipment or accessory designed to lift, pull, move or lower heavy loads, including attachments for anchoring, supporting or fixing them. Lifting gear includes hoists, winches, gantries, cranes, forklifts, shear legs, hand pumps, trolleys and block extractors.

2. What are the legal requirements for using lifting gear?

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) set down the requirements for using lifting equipment, and general duties can be found in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

3. Who do the LOLER regulations apply to?

All those who are in charge of supplying lifting equipment to workers.

4. How often should lifting gear be inspected?

Before first-time use and at regular intervals set down by a competent person or by LOLER. LOLER states that accessories and equipment used for lifting people should be examined every 6 months, and all other lifting gear should be examined at a minimum of once a year.

5. Why should I hire lifting equipment from Lakeside-Hire?

We have an extensive range of high-quality, fully certified equipment on offer, and our hire prices are in most cases 69% cheaper than our competitors. We also offer nationwide, next day delivery, which is free when you hire for 3 weeks or more, and we will fully assemble your equipment on arrival.

Need hiring advice? call us on 0333 920 2076

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