8 things to know about engineering inspectionsEngineering inspections are essential to ensure your organisation is meeting its various legal duties concerning work equipment.
John McMullen, Chief Engineer at Zurich Engineering, answers customers’ most frequently asked questions about engineering inspections.
1. Why do I need engineering inspections?
Regular engineering inspections are vital for remaining compliant with health and safety legislation and creating a safe working environment.
2. What can go wrong if I don’t have regular inspections?
Operating dangerous, unsafe or defective equipment will inevitably lead to accidents, which can result in injuries to employees and the public. This can lead to costly liability claims, and in most cases create the risk of criminal prosecution for individuals and their organisation.
3. How will engineering inspections improve my chances of defending a claim or criminal prosecution?
In many instances, inspections are required by law, so conducting them is essential for avoiding prosecution. However, even where inspections are not specifically mandated, owners and operators still have an overarching legal duty to manage risks in the workplace and to ensure equipment is safe to use.
Regular inspections are considered an implicit requirement to demonstrate sensible risk management practices. This is supported by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) approved codes of practice, industry standards and manufacturers’ recommendations.
4. What kinds of equipment require inspection?
Typical items of plant requiring inspection include:
- Lifting equipment
- Boiler plant and pressure systems
- Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems
- Electrical equipment
- Work equipment
However, this is not an exhaustive list. Local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive will consider the primary use of equipment to determine whether it legally requires inspection. If in doubt, you should always consult a qualified Engineer Surveyor or your local authority for guidance.
5. I have a brand new item of plant. Does this require inspection prior to being put into service?
It depends. For pressure plant, such as an air receiver or steam boiler, the answer is ‘yes’. For other types of equipment, however, a thorough examination is typically considered to have been carried out by the manufacturer or supplier, and should be evidenced in the Declaration of Conformity. In such cases, an inspection is usually not required until the period prescribed by law or by your organisation’s own scheme of examination.
6. How often should inspections take place?
Recommended and prescribed frequencies of inspection can range anywhere from each month to every few years, depending on the type of equipment in question. This is either determined by reference to specific legislation or by undertaking a suitable risk assessment.
Our Engineer Surveyors have the knowledge and expertise to help you determine an appropriate scheme of examination for your particular equipment.
7. How can we make the most of an Engineer Surveyor’s visit?
To get maximum benefit and minimise disruption to your operations, prior to any visit, the following steps should be taken:
- Check your inspection schedule to ensure that all plant that requires inspection is included
- Supply us with any information and documents that may be needed to complete a thorough examination of your plant and machinery
- Ensure all equipment has been prepared in advance (for example by depressurising equipment where necessary) and that you’ve scheduled enough out-of-service time for all inspections to be carried out
- Make the appropriate staff and facilities available so that our Engineer Surveyor can easily perform inspections
- Provide our Engineer Surveyor with safe access to the site and a safe working environment
8. Why should I choose Zurich to carry out my engineering inspections?
With more than 90 years of conducting safety inspections, Zurich Engineering has expertise and experience in the industry. We employ more than 600 people, and are trusted to produce more than 4 million reports for 10,000 clients at 100,000 locations across the UK.
Zurich Engineering is committed to best international standards and practices of health, safety and environmental matters. Through our impartial, in-service inspections, our team will help to ensure you are meeting the wide range of legislative responsibilities concerning the safety of your equipment.