Engineering inspections should be a top priority for many engineering and manufacturing firms, following the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) updating its advice on inspection requirements during the pandemic.
New guidelines, published online on April 1, 2021  will be reviewed on April 30, 2021 but constitute the situation to which all businesses, which have plant and equipment governed by certain regulations, need to work towards. Getting on top of compliance now, could prevent unsafe situations but also any legal ramifications of being found to be operating unsafe equipment, should an inspector call and deem lack of action to be a breach of duty of care.
The HSE guidelines specifically mention equipment regulated by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) with regard to paper cutting guillotines, fairground equipment and power presses, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), regulations, referencing Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) rules, the Electricity at Work Regulations and the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR).
The HSE’s latest guidance is very much focused on getting engineering and manufacturing companies back up and running with full compliance, talking about how organising a return to periodic and thorough examination and testing “is a priority.” Duty holders are urged to take into account any backlog of work which a competent person may have, when scheduling in their inspections.
The HSE also stresses that it “will expect businesses and organisations to have a plan in place for resuming thorough examination and testing of their equipment.” It also mentions the resumption of its own proactive regulatory intervention, in terms of checking that statutory requirements are being adhered to.
Businesses are urged to get their equipment examined and tested “at the earliest practicable opportunity”. Business life, in terms of statutory inspection, appears to be returning to normal.
The guidelines also emphasise that businesses should have retained maintenance records relating to how they kept their equipment safe to operate during lockdown and states that they must provide those records for the competent person to review, once inspections resume. These documents could be crucial in enabling the competent person to see what work needs to be carried out in terms of servicing and maintenance, and will be the basis of their proposals and actions with regard to examination and testing.
Engineering statutory inspections sit alongside engineering and manufacturing insurance policies and are a crucial part of risk management within this sector, thus having great bearing on insurance premiums. We anticipate that insurers will wish to know the full story when it comes to plant and equipment maintenance during lockdown, learning how it was managed, what equipment maintenance took place, the intervals within which no statutory inspections could be arranged, which equipment was decommissioned and for how long and how recommissioning has been handled.
Insurance brokers play a big role here, we will help you to gain the best insurance premium and package for your business. If you need help with this, please contact us.