Rossendale Group Inspection Testing Proof Load Test Load Bearing Structure

When is a proof load test required? The complete guide to proof load testing and certification of lifting equipment and load-bearing structures

16 October 2022

Proof load testing is one of the processes used to verify the safety, adequacy, suitability, and integrity of an item of lifting equipment, a load-bearing structure, or its installation. A proof load test will generally simulate the working condition of the equipment under test and will apply a load in excess of the item’s SWL, WLL or application loads.

When is proof load test required?

Typically, a proof load test is required to verify an item of lifting equipment or a load-bearing structure before it is first used. A designer, manufacturer or installer of the equipment will use the proof load test as part of a package of verification measures, which might also include NDT, weld verification, operation tests and visual examinations. The requirement might be specified by –

  • The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 requires designers, manufacturers and importers of lifting equipment to meet the essential health and safety requirements of the harmonised standards. For lifting equipment the standards typically require a proof load test.
  • ISO, BS and EN standards for lifting equipment and load-bearing structures typically require a proof load test.
  • The designer of the equipment.
  • The customer or user’s specification for the equipment.
  • The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 places general duties on designers, manufacturers, importers to ensure that the equipment is designed and constructed to be safe and to carry out such testing and examination as may be necessary.
  • The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 places general duties on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees. Proof load testing of lifting equipment before first use or after installation would help employers to fulfil this duty.

A proof load test might also be considered necessary by a competent person when carrying out a thorough examination under LOLER (the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, 1998). This will be up to the judgement of the competent person but will typically be required when lifting equipment or load-bearing structures are being examined under LOLER before first use, following a modification or repair, or after installation.

What types of lifting equipment require a proof load test?

  • Lifting accessories such as shackles, lifting and spreader beams, plate clamps and lifting magnets.
  • Lifting appliances such as hand chain hoists, electric hoists, lever hoists, mobile gantries and overhead cranes.
  • Load-bearing structures such as crane downshop gantries.
  • Special purpose equipment which requires verification of its capacity to sustain a load.

Rossendale Group offers proof load testing of a wide range of items, including –

  • Chain Block Proof Load Testing
  • Eyebolts and Lifting Points Proof Load Testing
  • Lifting Chains Proof Load Testing
  • Mobile Crane Proof Load Testing
  • Excavators Proof Load Testing
  • Overhead Gantry Crane Proof Load Testing
  • Gantry Frame Proof Load Testing
  • Lift Shaft Beam Proof Load Testing
  • Runway Beam Proof Load Testing
  • Forklift Truck Proof Load Testing
  • Hoists Proof Load Testing
  • Telescopic Handler Proof Load Testing
  • Jacks, Toe Jacks, and Trolley Jacks Proof Load Testing
  • Jib Cranes Proof Load Testing
  • Lifting Equipment Proof Load Testing
  • Vehicle Lifts Proof Load Testing
  • Lifting Tackle Proof Load Testing
  • Webbing Slings Proof Load Testing
  • Lorry Loaders Proof Load Testing
  • Winch Proof Load Testing
  • Mobile Access Platforms, Scissor Lifts, and Booms Proof Load Testing

What loads are applied in a proof load test?

The load applied is determined by a standard, specification, by the designer of the equipment or by the competent person when carrying out a thorough examination under LOLER. Typically the proof load is a factor in excess of the WLL but other loads applied might include a light load (used to test a brake) or functional test loads (e.g. at WLL to check proper operation).

What else happens during a proof load test?

The equipment is subject to a thorough examination by a competent person. This examination will often reveal defects which make the actual load test unnecessary. This is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts and includes all matters which affect the safety of the equipment, including likely deterioration with time. The examiner will check –

  • For deflections to determine whether they are within those allowed by standards or specifications;
  • For any sign of permanent set;
  • Whether the equipment is fit for purpose;
  • Whether the equipment is appropriate for the task;
  • Whether the equipment is suitably marked.

Methods of examination might include:

  • Visual examination and functional checks;
  • Measurements of wear;
  • NDT (non-destructive testing).

Is it necessary to repeat proof load tests throughout the life of the equipment?

This is generally not the case. Routine overload testing of lifting equipment is not recommended, except following an exceptional circumstance such as significant modification or repair.

What records should be kept of proof load tests?

A certificate of proof load test can be included in a Report of Thorough Examination under LOLER. The details shown should include those required by the standard or specification under which the test was carried out but will typically include a description of the equipment, the loads applied, the WLL, the deflections recorded and a unique ID number. If the equipment fails a proof load test, a Defect Report detailing the reasons for failure should be issued.

Why choose Rossendale Group as your proof load test provider

LEEA qualified test engineers

Our qualified, competent test engineers carry out the equipment examinations and tests. We have many years of in-depth experience and understanding of lifting operations and lifting equipment. We know what is safe and what is not. Our advice to proof load test customers is always free of charge.

Design capability

We have a technical office that can help you with designs and provide advice on appropriate proof loads, test methods and inspection points.

Test jig manufacture

We have a fabricating and machining facility and can design and manufacture test jigs when required. 

Test equipment

We have an extensive range of test equipment and facilities which include:

  • Calibrated loadcells up to 100 tonne capacity.
  • Calibrated hydraulic test equipment for tensile and compressive tests up to 800 tonne capacity.
  • Overhead cranes.
  • Test equipment such as slings, shackles, beams and test jigs.
LOLER compliance

We can incorporate your proof load test records with your LOLER records, including portal certification and tagging to best fit your needs, each identifying the date the next examination is due. 

Accredited and insured services

Our testing services are ISO9001:2015 and LEEA accredited and covered by professional indemnity, public and product liability insurances.