In a recent blog, we took a look at what a statutory inspection is and which regulations different kinds of plant and equipment are covered by. In this post, we consider relevant aspects associated with in-service inspection of engineering equipment.
In a nutshell, a 'Competent Person' – someone with relevant practical and theoretical expertise – should inspect work equipment on a regular basis. The more hazardous the equipment, the more frequent and detailed inspections are likely to be.
A thorough examination is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals by a Competent Person, who must then complete a written report. This report must contain:
- the examination date
- the date when the next thorough examination is due; and
- any defects found which are (or could potentially become) a danger to people.
In this blog we will take a look at how statutory inspections need to be conducted under these five different categories:
- Boiler plant/pressure systems
- Lifting equipment
- Local exhaust ventilation (LEV)
- Power presses; and
- Electrical equipment.
Itemising every potential item of plant and equipment that falls under these headings would be a Herculean task, but this post gives you guidance to the most common items that need an inspection. If you are unsure whether a particular piece of equipment should be examined under regulations, be sure to get in touch – we would be happy to advise.
Boiler plant/pressure systems
Equipment of this kind should be inspected in accordance with Regulation 9 of the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR). Typical items include:
|Aftercoolers||Fire Tube Boilers|
|Air Filters||Fire Tube Waste Heat Boilers|
|Air Receivers||Pressurised Hot Water Boilers (Low, Medium & High Temp)|
|Blowdown Tanks||Steam-Heated Boilers|
|Boiling Pans (Steam Heated)||Steam/Hot Water Boilers (un-pressurised)|
|Composite Boilers||Water Level Indicators|
|Compressed Air Systems (Small/Medium)||Wet Back Boilers|
Please note that PSSR only covers air conditioning and refrigeration plant with combined compressor motors rated above 25kW. Also, hot-water boilers are only covered when they operate above 100°C, but regular inspections are highly recommended.
With regard to pressure vessels, they require a written scheme of examination when their pressure, multiplied by the vessel volume, is greater than 250 bar litres.
Lifting equipment needs to be inspected under the requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). Plant and machinery covered by them includes:
|Accessories for lifting (Lifting Tackle)||Motor Vehicle Lifting Table|
|Block (Electric or Pneumatic)||Order Pickers|
|Blocks and Winches (Manual)||Pallet Trucks|
|Boat Movers and Boat Hoists||Passenger Lifts|
|Builders Platform Hoist||Patient Hoists|
|Cranes (all kinds)||Rope Blocks|
|Dragline Excavators (Diesel/Walking)||Sheer Legs|
|Electric Magnets||Shower Trollies|
|Fork Lifts & Platform Lifts||Stairlifts|
|Hydraulic Excavators (360 Degree)||Suspended Access Equipment|
|Hydraulic Scossor Lifts||Travelling Chain Block (Manual)|
|Lifting Tackle (Accessories for lifting)||Vehicle Tailboard Lifts|
|Loading Shovels||Wheelchair Lifts|
|Man Baskets||Winches (Powered or Manual)|
|Mobile Elevating Work Platforms|
Local exhaust ventilation
Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) plant controls, captures or contains hazardous airborne releases either at, or close to, the point of emission before removing the pollutant to where it can be collected safely or released. Pollutants could be gases, paint, fine particles, asbestos or other dangerous fumes/vapours.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 governs LEV equipment inspection. There are many different types of LEV equipment, but they normally comprise of: captor hood, exhaust ducting, extraction fan(s) and filter/collection bags. Common examples include:
|Vacuum systems on tools with permanent exhaust systems||Vehicle exhaust extracts|
|Extractors for cutting processes||Canopies|
|Oven and furnace flues||Hoods|
|Dust booths||Fume cupboards|
|Paint spray booths||Welding hoods|
Power presses, used to work cold metal, fall under the remit of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). Depending on the type of equipment, it must be inspected every 6 or 12 months – the regulations do not allow flexibility via a risk-based approach to inspections. Common machinery covered by the regulations include:
- Power Presses; and
- Press Brakes.
While the definition of a power press within legislation is narrow, there are many other machines where a similar approach is advisable:
- Moulding machines
- Screw presses
- Injection Moulding Machines
- Pneumatic presses; and
- Hydraulic presses.
Electrical installations and equipment
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) require all electrical systems to be maintained to a standard that prevents death or personal injury occurring from their use. There is an almost limitless number of electrical systems covered by EAWR, but examples of equipment, which tend to be used by heavy industry, might include:
- Air Compressor motors
- Diesel Alternators
- Electrical Power Transformers
- Fan motors
- Oil Burner Units
- Pump (Centrifugal) Motors; and
- Refrigeration Compressor motors.
Who can conduct inspections?
While this post gives you a broad outline of plant and equipment covered by regulations, it’s vital to remember that all examinations must be undertaken by a ‘Competent Person’. This is someone with the practical and theoretical knowledge to assess the safety of any given plant or equipment and someone who is able to identify defects or weaknesses.
Tthis person should be entirely independent from your maintenance and service supplier to avoid any conflicts of interest, real or imagined. This is why an increasing number of firms outsource their inspections. But it’s vital to choose the right supplier, as you have a legal responsibility to ensure they do meet the necessary criteria to be deemed competent – to help you quickly and easily achieve this, we recommend you consult our free guide, Essential questions to ask your engineering inspection supplier.