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A guide to engineering inspection frequencies


Employers have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Periodic engineering inspections on their plant and equipment form part of this vital duty, whilst also ensuring employer conformity to applicable health and safety legislation.

Plant and equipment needs to be examined and properly maintained to ensure it is safe to operate, and that it complies with applicable health and safety legislation.

Regular inspections may also serve as a good preventative maintenance programme to ensure the integrity of plant and equipment; helping to minimise machinery breakdowns and production downtime.

Inspection frequencies

Different types and categories of equipment have varying inspection frequencies according to applicable health and safety legislation.

Typical equipment and installations found within the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries are listed below, together with the applicable legislation.

Equipment category Applicable legislation (1) Typical equipment Inspection frequency (months)
Lifting Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) Mobile crane 12
Fork lift truck 12
Mobile elevator work platform (MEWP) 6
Miscellaneous lifting accessories 6
Fall protection 6
Pressure (2) Pressure System Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR) Boiler 14
Cryogenic vessels 60
Jacketed vessels 14/26
Steam pipework and manifolds 14
Other pipework and manifolds Dependant on risk assessment
Compressed air vessels 13/26/72
Electrical/mechanical plant Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 (PUWER) General mechanical and electrical plant (e.g. motors, pumps) 12
Process machinery 12
Local exhaust ventilation The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) Dust extraction plant 14
Fume extraction plant 14
Storage of hazardous substances Control Of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH) Storage tank Dependant on risk assessment
Electrical systems (3) Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) Low voltage electrical installations 36
Portable appliances 12
  1. For Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable. HSB's inspection services in the Republic of Ireland are provided to comply with the equivalent legislation.
  2. Examination intervals for statutory pressure systems are dictated by a Written Scheme of Examination; a legal document that details the items within the pressure system, including protective devices, and outlines the inspection frequency and requirements.
  3. The frequency of period inspection for electrical systems, installations and equipment covered by the Electricity at Work Regululations 1989 is dependent on the type and use of the installation, the quality and frequency of maintenance and any external influences which the installation may be subject to.
Plant Guide

View detailed diagrams of typical plant and equipment used across various industries, together with applicable UK legislation for each item.

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