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.
Manufacturers rely on a wide range of equipment and process plant for their day-to-day operations. Various metal and non-metal work processes may occur, depending on the type of business operation.
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 'thorough examinations' at specific intervals on a statutory basis. 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.
Different types and categories of equipment have varying inspection frequencies according to applicable health and safety legislation. Typical equipment and installations found within the construction industry are listed below, together with the applicable legislation.
|Equipment category||Applicable legislation (1)||Equipment type||Typical equipment||Inspection frequency (months)|
|Lifting equipment||Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)||Metal works and non-metal works||Blocks (manual/powered)||12|
|Miscellaneous lifting accessories||6|
|Mobile elevating working platform (MEWP)||6|
|Overhead travelling crane||12|
|Pressure plant (2)||Pressure System Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR)||Metal works and non-metal works||Compressed air vessel||13/26/72|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Non-metal works||Dust extraction||14|
|Electrical systems (4)||Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR)||Metal works and non-metal works||Low voltage electrical installations||36|
- 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.
- 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.
- Inspection frequencies for mechanical power presses specifically used for cold metal forming processes are covered by PUWER: Safe use of power presses; typically every 6 or 12 months depending on the type of guard on the power press.
- The frequency of period inspection for electrical systems, installations and equipment covered by EAWR 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.