I have a brand new item of plant. Does this require an inspection prior to being put into service?
If it is pressure plant, for example an air receiver or steam boiler, the answer is yes. If it is lifting plant and safety does not depend upon installation conditions – when the declaration of conformity initial period has expired – an inspection is normally required 12 months after being purchased.
Can thorough examinations be carried out by the maintenance company?
Yes. However, plant owners must ensure that whoever undertakes the examination has appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge, as well as experience of the equipment in question, in order to detect defects and weaknesses as well as assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the equipment. It is essential that the competent person is sufficiently independent and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made. This does not mean that competent persons must be necessarily employed from an external company. If employers and others within their own organisations have the necessary competence, they can use it.
However, they must ensure that their examiners have genuine authority and independence to ensure that examinations are properly carried out and that the necessary recommendations arising from them are made without fear or favour.
It is generally accepted that enforcing authorities and inspection bodies accredited to BS EN45004 are independent and impartial.
How often is a ‘thorough examination’ required on lifting plant?
Under LOLER, a ‘thorough examination’ is typically required every 12 months. Lifting attachments, accessories and machines for lifting persons need examination every six months.
How often do air receivers need to be examined?
An examination usually takes place once every 12 months. However, the type and frequency of examination are defined by the written scheme. For the majority of air receivers, the first examination is a full, internal thorough inspection. The next inspection, 12 months later, is a working external examination and the following year it requires another thorough examination. This means there is a thorough examination every two years.
With the agreement of the customer, the written scheme can be amended so that both the thorough and external examination are completed at the same time and therefore only one examination takes place – every two years.