The following frequently asked questions and answers are intended as general guidance and do not constitute specific advice. Please contact us on 020 3086 9223 to discuss your crane lifting projects in more detail.

What is an Appointed Person (AP)?
An Appointed Person is the person who is ultimately responsible for the safe workings of a crane. It is the AP's responsibility to create a detailed method statement and risk assessment for specific lift operations. Within these documents the Appointed Person must select an appropriate crane, choose the correct accessories, determine the personnel level and outline their specific roles. In order to comply with British standards (Bs7121) and LOLER regulations an AP must be 'trained and competent'.

How do I know someone is 'trained and competent?'
The Construction Plant Competence Scheme is the largest and most comprehensive card scheme to prove the competence of people working with plant in the construction industry. Most places of work now require their Appointed Person to be CPCS certified. It is through the competence of the Appointed Person that accidents and injuries are minimised.

What is the appointed person responsible for?
The Appointed Person should be confident that he or she has determined a safe system of work before they sign off a lifting operation. The Appointed Person can never delegate their responsibility even if they are not present when a lifting operation is occurring. They can however delegate their duties to a competent Crane Supervisor. In order to comply with British Standards and LOLER 98 regulations all lifting operations must have been planned by a competent Appointed Person that person is ultimately responsible for the safe execution of all lifting operations.

I need a crane, what are my options?
When requiring a crane lift the client has two options, the first being 'CPA conditions' and the second being a 'contract lift'. If choosing standard CPA lift hire then the client is simply hiring a crane and potentially an operator. The risk and responsibilities remain with the client. In a contract lift the crane supplier is fully responsible.

If I choose 'CPA conditions' what do I have to do?
The client is responsible for providing a method statement which has been provided by a trained and competent 'Appointed Person'. The client must then ensure that the operation is supervised according to BS 7121 and that trained and competent personnel are on hand to provide slinging and signalling. The client is thus responsible for any damage or accidents that may occur. Apart from the financial cost of any damage or injury the client would also have to prove to the Health and Safety Executive that they had done everything in accordance with rules and regulations. Fines for failure to comply can amount to several hundred thousand pounds.

What happens in a 'contract lift?'
Under a contract lift agreement the crane company take all the responsibility and risk. All the client has to ensure is that they have given correct information regarding the items to be lifted and the ground conditions. The client must have adequate public liability insurance cover to cover this. It is the contractor's duty to undertake all planning, method statements and risk assessments as well as supervising and managing the lift.

What is a crane supervisor?
British Standards 7121 state that a competent and trained person must be present who is responsible for supervising a lifting operation and ensuring that operation stays within the safe system of work developed by the Appointed Person in his/her method statement. Whilst the Appointed Person will always be ultimately responsible for safe lifting supervision of the lift itself can be delegated to a suitably competent 'crane supervisor'. This person is likely to have completed the CPCS Crane Supervisors' accreditation. S/he will be responsible for ensuring that any lift is set up and carried out as detailed in the method statement and risk assessments.

What standards, rules and regulations do I need to comply with?
Anyone involved in the planning and executing of crane operations should have knowledge of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment regulations (LOLER ) 1998, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)1998 and British Standards 7121 (Code of Practice for crane Safety). These are the rules and regulations that govern the crane industry and they must be adhered to at all times

What needs to be thought about when planning a crane lift?
Crane lifts are potentially dangerous activities and there is much to consider when planning them. This includes ground bearing pressures, load integrity, slinging methods, duty charts, types of accessories, personnel, environmental factors, contingency plans. This is a highly specialised skill and we strongly advise using a trained, competent and accredited professional to undertake this work for you.

What are the consequences of not complying with the law?
Crane operations are considered safety critical as the consequences can be severe in terms of environmental, structural and health related damage. For this reason the Health and Safety Executive has provided a very stringent framework within which people must operate and is rigorous in its application of this framework. Penalties for not complying with legislation range from unlimited fines to imprisonment. Another factor that must be taken into account is the financial cost of a crane accident. Fines for accidents leading to a death can be upwards of £300,000 and could lead to imprisonment. Replacing a damaged crane can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.


"I was extremely pleased with the service provided by VB Lifting Services both in terms of the consideration to health and safety and the co-operative nature of the crane supervisor. He was a joy to work with and I have no hesitation in recommending him to other clients." Manager, Beechwood Homes