Inspection frequencies - Chemicals/Petrochemicals/Pharmaceuticals
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Chemical/Petrochemical/ Pharmaceutical Industries

A guide to inspection frequencies

Employers have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Periodic 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.

Manufacturers rely on a wide range of equipment and process plant for their day-to-day operations, with various work processes occurring depending on the type of business operation.

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 examinations at specific intervals, which 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.

Applicable legislation (1) Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 Mobile crane (goods only) 12
Forklift truck (goods only) 12
Forklift truck: lifting attachments 12
Jib crane (manual/powered) 12
Mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) 6
Trolley 12
Miscellaneous lifting accessories 6
Fall protection equipment (harness with lanyard) 6
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable.
Applicable legislation (1) Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months) (2)
Pressure System Safety Regulations 2000 Boiler 14
Cryogenic vessels 60
Jacketed vessels 14/26
Steam pipework and manifolds 14
Other pipework and manifolds Dependant on risk assessment
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Compressed air vessel 12
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable. (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.
Applicable legislation (1) Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 General mechanical and electrical plant (e.g. motors, pumps) 12
Process machinery 12
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable.
Applicable legislation (1) Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 Fume extraction 14
Dust extraction (metallic) 6/14 (2)
Dust extraction (non-metallic) 14
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable. (2) 6-month frequency if used for more than 12 hours per week. Otherwise, a 14-month frequency.
Applicable legislation (1) Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
Control Of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 Storage tank Dependant on risk assessment
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable.
Applicable legislation (1) Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months) (2)
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 Low voltage electrical installations: general areas 12/36: dependant on risk assessment
Low voltage electrical installations: petroleum 12
Portable appliances 12
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable. (2) 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.
Applicable legislation Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
S.I. No. 299 of 2007: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Mobile crane (goods only) 12
Forklift truck (goods only) 12
Forklift truck: lifting attachments 12
Jib crane (manual/powered) 12
Mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) 6
Trolley 12
Miscellaneous lifting accessories 6
Fall protection equipment (harness with lanyard) 6
Applicable legislation Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
S.I. No. 445 of 2012: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 Boiler 14
Cryogenic vessels 36/60
Jacketed vessels 14/26
Steam pipework and manifolds 14
Other pipework and manifolds Dependant on risk assessment
S.I. No. 299 of 2007 (Regulation 30): Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Compressed air vessel 12
Applicable legislation Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
S.I. No. 299 of 2007 (Regulation 30): Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 General mechanical and electrical plant (e.g. motors, pumps) 12
Process machinery 12
Applicable legislation Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months) (1)
Health & Safety Authority: Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Guidance document Fume extraction 12
Dust extraction (metallic) 12
Dust extraction (non-metallic) 12
(1) Unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer.
Applicable legislation Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
S.I. No. 209 of 2015: Chemicals Act (Control of Major Accident Hazards involving Dangerous Substances) Regulations 2015 Storage tank Dependant on risk assessment
Applicable legislation Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
S.I. No. 299 of 2007 (Part 3): Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Low voltage electrical installations: general areas 12-60 - Dependant on risk assessment
Low voltage electrical installations: petroleum 36 - Retail and private (1)
12 - Bulk storage areas (1)
Portable appliances 3-60 (2)
(1) Unless specified otherwise by a risk assessment/the manufacturer. (2) A general guide, unless specified otherwise by a risk assessment/the manufacturer.

Plant Guide: Diagrams

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

How HSB can help

HSB Inspection Services: Our network of competent, multi-skilled Engineer Surveyors located throughout the UK and Ireland help customers to maintain workplace equipment safety, optimise the efficiency of plant and equipment, and comply with applicable health and safety legislation.

HSB Risk Management Solutions: We can help businesses to reduce risks, costs, and deliver compliance via improved analysis of their equipment and health and safety practices. Consisting of three services, each service is further split into modules, allowing customers to build them to fit their business.