Posted by Pete Coleman on 10-Nov-2017 11:26:23

Why should you employ a UKAS Type ‘A’ engineering inspection Body?

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If you’re wondering why you need your engineering inspection supplier to hold UKAS Type ‘A’ accreditation, the answer is simple: it’s to ensure there is no ‘Fear or Favour’ or ‘Conflict of Interest’ with your operational, commercial or maintenance/servicing regimes.                                                       

Whatever type of plant you operate, from lifting equipment or power presses, or LEV systems to boiler plant, you need to ensure that the person conducting the maintenance is independent to the ‘Competent Person’ undertaking the inspection.

There are good reasons for this. Not only is it wise to have a fresh pair of eyes responsible for inspections, but the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) also provides guidance on this matter when, for example, examining lifting equipment. While the inspector does not need to work for a separate organisation, they must be:

‘…sufficiently independent and impartial to ensure that in-house examinations are made without fear or favour.’

That said, employing an Independent engineering inspection body is undoubtedly the best way to ensure that every inspection is viewed as impartial – and this could significantly reduce your liability if something requiring attention is missed or overlooked and your equipment subsequently causes operational disruption or, even worse, possible injury/death.

Avoiding accidents should always be a top priority for businesses, so when you do hire an external inspection company, it’s vital to choose one with the best possible accreditations and the most highly qualified Engineer Surveyors. This is where the importance of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service’ (UKAS) Type ‘A’ accreditation comes in.

Click here to download 'Essential questions to ask your engineering inspection  supplier'

What is UKAS Type ‘A’ accreditation?

UKAS is the sole national accreditation body the government recognises for assessing the competence of organisations that provide testing, inspection and certification services.

UKAS classifies inspection companies into three different categories – Type A, Type B and Type C. The most independent level of accreditation - Type A - is only awarded to inspection bodies who hold no maintenance or servicing responsibilities. It can never be awarded to an organisation that has an in-house inspection department (even if it offers inspection services to other third parties).

Most importantly, Type A accreditation is given only to companies that solely provide testing, inspection and certification services. It is impossible for a Type A accredited organisation to also offer you maintenance services.

The importance of this is significant. While it is possible to employ a non-Type A accredited company to deliver both maintenance and inspection services, you will need to ensure you are receiving unbiased examinations and advice to comply with HSE guidelines. For example, you need to be confident that your inspection body will report on any maintenance related matters that could affect the plant life elongation and/or continued safe use. Likewise, you need to be sure any recommendations made as a result of the inspection has no bearing on any commercial influences as a result of the recommended repairs and/or replacements required.

Conflicts of interest such as this could not only be expensive – faults may be left until they cost a lot more to put right – but it could also lead to failures or unnecessary replacements, which you’ll be liable for.

In short, the best way to ensure that you are receiving an inspection service devoid of any conflicts of interest, or influenced by any fear or favour, is to opt for an independent inspection supplier with Type A accreditation.

We pride ourselves on our Type A accreditation, but ultimately the choice of supplier is always yours.  To help make sure you choose one that meets your needs and keeps your inspections in safe hands, please read our free guide.

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Topics: Engineering Inspection

Written by Pete Coleman