HSB | Engineering inspection frequencies - Chemicals/Petrochemicals/Pharmaceuticals
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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 and/or thorough examinations 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 within the workplace needs to be examined and properly maintained to ensure it is safe to operate, and that it complies with applicable health and safety legislation; requiring statutory 'thorough examinations' at specific intervals (thorough examinations exist outside normal equipment maintenance and servicing procedures).

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) Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
Lifting equipment Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) Metal works and non-metal works Blocks (manual/powered) 12
Jib crane (manual/powered) 12
Fork-lift truck 12
Fork-lift truck: lifting attachments 12
Trolley 12
Miscellaneous lifting accessories 6
Mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) 6
Overhead travelling crane 12
Vacuum lifter 6
Lifting magnet 6
Pressure plant (2) Pressure System Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR) Metal works and non-metal works Compressed air vessel 13/26/72
Steam boiler 14
Steam vessels 14/26
Other pressure vessels 13-120
Refrigeration system (>25kW) 60
Power presses (3): cold metal forming Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER): Safe use of power presses Metal works Mechanical power press 6/12
Mechanical press brake 6/12
Other power presses Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) Metal works and non-metal works Hydraulic press 6/12
Hydraulic press brake 6/12
Pneumatic press 6/12
Non-metal works Mechanical power press 6/12
Mechanical press brake 6/12
Process machinery with guards (e.g. guillotine, injection moulding machine, etc.) 6/12
Electrical/mechanical plant Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) Metal works and non-metal works Hot water boiler (<100ºC) 12
Air conditioning units (<25kW) 12
Process machinery 12
General mechanical and electrical plant (e.g. motors, pumps, etc.) 12
Local exhaust ventilation The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) Metal works Shot blast unit 1/6
Dust extraction 6/14
Fume extraction 6/14
Non-metal works Dust extraction 14
Fume extraction 14
Electrical systems (4) Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) Metal works and non-metal works 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.

HSB Inspection Services

Engineering inspections focused on helping our customers to maintain workplace equipment safety, optimise the efficiency of plant and equipment, and comply with applicable health and safety legislation.