If you’ve spent some time on our website, then you’ll know that there are a huge range of items of lifting equipment available to you. While some pieces of equipment, such as floor cranes and gantry cranes can be easily distinguished, other items, such as eye bolts, look extremely similar in nature.

This is why a colour coding system has been applied to lifting equipment and the lifting gear industry, and we’ve explained more on this below.

colour coding

It’s important that all lifting equipment is inspected regularly

The industry rules and regulations

The lifting industry, and all of the lifting equipment within it, is governed by UK laws and regulations, as well as various EU directives. The primary piece of legislation that affects the lifting equipment industry is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) also has an effect here too.

These are widespread regulations that cover a range of processes within the lifting equipment industry, but the outline is as follows:


- A duty is placed upon any people or companies that own or will be using lifting equipment

- Any lifting operations can only be carried out once proper planning has been put in place by a competent person

- A competent person must also ensure that any lifting operation is appropriately supervised and completed in a safe fashion

- All lifting equipment that is being used must be in a good working condition, suitable for the task that it’s being used for and appropriately marked, which is where the colour coding system applies (which we will explain in greater detail below)

- You must regularly inspect all lifting equipment, and you must also keep records of all inspections of your lifting equipment. Any defects or faults must be reported

Marking your lifting equipment

It’s extremely likely that the industry you are operating in will have several types of lifting equipment available, and it’s crucial that they are appropriately marked so that workers can quickly identify what piece should be used for what.

There are several ways that your lifting equipment should be marked, depending, of course, on the piece that’s being used:

The colour coding system for lifting equipment

Any lifting equipment or lifting accessories that you use are subject to a colour coding system. This will generally be green, blue, orange and red, but some pieces of equipment such as web slings, have a wider colour coding system which applies to lifting strengths, which is; purple, green, yellow, grey, red, brown, blue, orange.

colour coding

Failing to quality check your lifting equipment could see it looking like this!

The green, blue, orange and red colour coding system is a separate system to lifting capabilities that instead give the user an indication of when the lifting equipment was last inspected and tested.

The four colours should be used in rotation to deem how close that piece of lifting equipment is to being inspected, and also when it has been cleared for safe use. Any item that is marked with red must not be used until it has been inspected, while any lifting equipment that is marked green has most recently been given the all clear.

Other lifting equipment markings

Other markings that you may find being used on your lifting equipment are:

- Markings to indicate the safe working load of an item

- Markings that indicate if the use of an item may be affected (i.e. the weightage of parts)

- And for lifting equipment that is used to lift people, a clear indication must be made of how many people can safely be lifted

Find out more about the rules and regulations on lifting equipment

For more information on the rules and regulations that apply to the safe use of lifting equipment, please get in touch with us here.



Image credit: geralt and Lichtmagnet