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Plant & Machinery Statutory Inspections

INTRODUCTION


In conducting an overview of the liability risk, it is important that enquiries are made as regards compliance with statutory examinations of lifting equipment, pressure systems and other plant. Such examinations are often carried out as part of an engineering insurance contract that combines insurance against the consequences of breakdown with an inspection service.


The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 covers all work equipment and any activity involving the equipment – including starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing, inspection and cleaning. Users must carry out risk assessments and make sure that all equipment is both safely installed and safe to use in accordance with duties under PUWER. In addition, there are specific regulations applying to particular types of equipment as follows:

 

LIFTING EQUIPMENT


The main item of legislation concerning lifting equipment is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998 which covers all work equipment with a lifting function. It applies in addition to PUWER and is aimed at providing adequate safeguards to people working with lifting equipment.


Under these regulations, a thorough periodic examination and inspection of lifting equipment by a suitably competent person is required within specified intervals, unless the scheme of examination states otherwise. A report of each thorough examination must also be provided. Examples of intervals between examinations are as follows:

Equipment

Inspection Period (months)

Governing Regulation(s)

Notes

Escalators

12

PUWER

Inspection under workplace regulations

Excavators

12

PUWER

Excavators fall under PUWER if used solely for excavating, but must comply with LOLER if used for any form of lifting

Builders’ hoists

6

LOLER

In all cases, 12 months is reduced to 6 months if used for lifting persons

Cranes and lifting machinery

12

LOLER


Forklift trucks

12

LOLER


Goods lifts and hoists

 

12

LOLER


Passenger lifts

6

LOLER


Lifting accessories

6

LOLER


Lorry loader cranes

12

LOLER


Motor vehicle lifting tables

6

LOLER

 

 

PRESSURE SYSTEMS


The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) 2000 requires pressure systems to be thoroughly examined in accordance with a written scheme of examination. PSSR applies to plant containing a “relevant fluid” which is defined by the regulations as:


  • A compressed or liquefied gas, including air, at a pressure greater than 0.5 bar

  • Pressurised hot water above 110⁰C

  • Steam at any pressure


The extensive range of equipment covered by PSSR typically includes:


  • Compressed air systems;


  • Steam boilers;

  • Refrigeration plant (where installed power exceeds 25kW);

  • Fixed LPG systems (e.g. for heating);

  • Steam sterilising autoclaves; and

  • Electrically heated cafe boilers/ sets


Following an assessment, a written scheme of examination must be drawn up by a competent person, and must include a definition of the items included in the system, and details of the frequency of inspection. Inspection intervals may vary according to usage and/or risk assessment. The following table lists inspection periods recommended by the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed):

Equipment

Inspection Period (months)

Governing Regulation(s)

Notes

Air pressure plant*

26

PSSR

Normally inspected at 24 months

Air steam boilers and boilers> 100⁰C

14

PSSR

Normally inspected at 12 months

Includes electrically heated café boilers containing a pressure vessel

Refrigeration and air conditioning systems

48

PSSR

 

Steam generation equipment

14

PSSR

Normally inspected at 12 months

Steam receiving plant

26

PSSR

Normally inspected at 24 months

Other pressure systems

12 - 120

PSSR

Dependent on vessel type, contents and application

 

Note: For pressure systems containing a relevant fluid other than steam, a written scheme of examination is only required where the system incorporates a vessel/ or vessels (e.g. air receiver) which has a stored energy level of 250 bar litres or more (i.e. product of pressure in bars and the internal volume in litres of each vessel in the system).

 

POWER PRESSES AND MACHINERY


Requirements for the thorough examination and inspection of power presses are covered in Part 4 of PUWER – the Safe Use of Power Presses. This requires that power presses (and press brakes with flywheels) are thoroughly examined and inspected by a competent person in accordance with the frequencies detailed below and a report provided. In addition, a suitably competent, appointed person (usually an employee, e.g. trained tool-setter, etc.) must inspect and test the guards and safety devices each day before use (i.e. within the first 4 hours of use) and, after setting, re-setting, or the adjustment of tooling with a log kept.


For hydraulic (incl. injection moulding machines) and pneumatic presses, a regular system of inspection by an authorised person on behalf of the company would be expected with a record retained.

 

Other process machines with guards and safety devices should also be inspected regularly under PUWER, although intervals are not typically specified.  Inspections are required where there is a significant risk of injury and the extent of the inspection will depend on the potential risks from the work equipment. Inspections should include, where appropriate, visual checks, functional checks and testing.


The level of inspections required would normally be less detailed and less intrusive than the thorough examination required in respect of power presses, LOLER, etc. However, an inspection should always include those safety related parts which are necessary for the safe operation of equipment, for example, overload warning devices, limit switches, electrical safety interlocks, isolators, E-Stops and light guards etc.


Records of such examinations should be retained for a minimum period of three years.

Equipment

Inspection Period (months)

Governing Regulation(s)

Notes

Power presses and press brakes

6

PUWER

 

 

 

12 months where press has a fixed guard only or enclosed tool

Paper guillotines

6

 


Metal guillotines

6



Plastic injection moulding machines

12



Process machinery

Governed by risk assessment



 

LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION (LEV)


There are three sets of Regulations, which require employers to operate and maintain LEV equipment:


  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002

  • The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002

  • The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

 

To meet the requirements of COSHH Regulation 9 (Examination and Maintenance), employers are required to ensure that local exhaust ventilation is thoroughly examined and tested by a competent person to ensure that it continues to perform in accordance with its design specification with the results suitably recorded. Recommended frequencies are as follows:

Equipment

Inspection Period (months)

Governing Regulation(s)

Notes

LEV dust/fume/vapour extraction

14

COSHH. HSE Guidance HSG258

6 months for metal dust

6 months in non-ferrous foundries

 

LEV shot blast units

6

COSHH. HSE Guidance HSG258

 

 

REPORTING AND RISK IMPROVEMENTS


Non-compliance with statutory inspections should be reported in the appropriate manner and risk improvements raised where applicable which, in the majority of cases, are to be submitted as requirements, owing to a breach of statutory obligations.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


A range of guidance publications are available from the HSE on free download. These include:


  • INDG178: Written schemes of examination – Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000

  • INDG 261:  Pressure systems – safety and you

  • L122:  Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 – Approved Code of Practice

  • INDG291: Simple guide to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

  • L22: Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 – Approved Code of Practice

  • INDG290: Simple guide to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

  • L113: Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 – Approved Code of Practice

  • L112: Safe use of power presses. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 as applied to power presses - Approved Code of Practice and guidance

  • INDG408: Clearing the air - A simple guide to buying and using local exhaust ventilation (LEV)


There are also a number of publications available from SAFed, including Guidelines for the examination of electrically heated café boilers, on free download at www.safed.co.uk.

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