HSB | Engineering inspections guide - Manufacturing
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Manufacturers (General)

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. Various metal and non-metal work processes may occur, 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 manufacturing industry are listed below, together with the applicable legislation.

Applicable legislation (1) Type of manufacturer Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 Metal works and non-metal works Blocks (manual/powered) 12
Jib crane (manual/powered) 12
Forklift truck 12
Forklift truck: lifting attachments 12
Trolley 12
Miscellaneous lifting accessories 6
Mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) 6
Overhead travelling crane 12
Vacuum lifter 6
Lifting magnet 6
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable.
Applicable legislation (1) Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months) (2)
Pressure System Safety Regulations 2000 Metal works and non-metal works Steam boiler 14
Steam vessels 14/26
Other pressure vessels 13-120
Refrigeration system (>25kW) 60
Air/oil receiver 72
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Metal works and non-metal works 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.
Equipment category Applicable legislation (1) Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
Power presses: cold metal forming (2) Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998: 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 Metal works and non-metal works Hydraulic power 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
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable. (2) 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.
Applicable legislation (1) Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 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) 12
(1) For Northern Ireland, similar statutory equipment legislation is applicable.
Applicable legislation (1) Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 Metal works Shot blast unit 1/6
Dust extraction 6/14 (2)
Fume extraction 6/14 (2)
Non-metal works Dust extraction 14
Fume extraction 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) Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months) (2)
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 Metal works and non-metal works Low voltage electrical installations 36
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 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.
Applicable legislation Type of manufacturer Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
S.I. No. 299 of 2007: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Metal works and non-metal works Blocks (manual/powered) 12
Jib crane (manual/powered) 12
Forklift truck 12
Forklift truck: lifting attachments 12
Trolley 12
Miscellaneous lifting accessories 6
Mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) 6
Overhead travelling crane 12
Vacuum lifter 6
Lifting magnet 6
Applicable legislation Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months)
S.I. No. 445 of 2012: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 Metal works and non-metal works Steam boiler 14
Steam vessels 14/26
Other pressure vessels 13/120
Refrigeration system (>25kW) 60
Air/oil receiver 72
S.I. No. 299 of 2007 (Regulation 30): Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Metal works and non-metal works Compressed air vessel 12
Equipment category Applicable legislation Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months) (1)
Power presses: cold metal forming S.I. No. 299 of 2007: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Metal works Mechanical power press 6/12
Mechanical press brake 6/12
Other power presses S.I. No. 299 of 2007: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Metal works and non-metal works Hydraulic power 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
(1) Depending on the type of guard on the power press.
Applicable legislation Equipment type 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 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) 12
Applicable legislation Equipment type Typical equipment Inspection/thorough examination frequency (months) (1)
Health & Safety Authority: Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Guidance document Metal works Shot blast unit 12
Dust extraction 12
Fume extraction 12
Non-metal works Dust extraction 12
Fume extraction 12
(1) Unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer.
Applicable legislation Equipment type 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 Metal works and non-metal works Low voltage electrical installations 36 - Industrial (1)
60 - Commercial (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 UK legislation for each item.

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