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Inspection regulations

Understanding the UK’s safety inspection requirements can be challenging, as there are several different regulations in force, and for some types of machinery or operation, more than one regulation may apply. The main regulations are summarised here for information.

Safety Inspection and Certification summary

Lifting and Handling Plant

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 – LOLER
Chains, slings, cranes, excavators, loaders, goods / passenger lifts, vehicle lifts, access platforms, forklift trucks, telehandlers, tail lifts, tower cranes

Power Presses and Dangerous Machinery

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 – PUWER
Power presses, press brakes, guillotines, hydraulic presses

Pressure Systems

Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 – PSSR
Compressed air systems, air receivers, steam boilers, refrigeration vessels, written schemes of examination, air compressors, autoclaves, pressure vessels

Local Exhaust Ventilation and Extraction Plant

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations – COSHH
Fume and dust extraction plant, spray booths, metal and wood extraction systems, LEV plant

PUWER and LOLER Regulations

The Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 1998) and The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 1998) are the UK’s response to the recommendations made by the European Commission in the Amendment to the Use of Work Equipment Directive - 95/63/EC.

PUWER 1998 contains the broad general requirements for all types of work equipment. It also contains specific requirements for mobile equipment and for the thorough examination and inspection of power presses.

LOLER 1998 is concerned with and rationalises the specific requirements for the examination and testing of lifting equipment and requires that all lifting operations are properly planned and supervised.

Even if you have carried out a risk assessment under the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1992 you will need to conduct a further assessment to see if there is a need for inspection under Regulation 6 of Puwer 1998.

For many types of equipment, both the PUWER and LOLER regulations must be satisfied.

Key additional steps are:

  • Mobile Equipment - risk assessment to establish if there is a risk of the equipment of rolling over or of fork trucks overturning. If there is such a risk then rollover protection devices and seat harness / belts should be fitted.
  • Lifting Equipment - must be reviewed to ensure that it is properly identified and subject to a thorough examination by a competent body and any new equipment accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity or Incorporation (this replaces the test certificate required under previous legislation).
  • All lifting operations - must be planned, and where necessary supervised, owners/users may need to produce a written method statement.
  • Work Equipment - the laws have a wide definition of work equipment and ISI can provide you with a comprehensive range of products and services to ensure that you comply fully with both the existing and new legislation.

See more information about the LOLER Regs >

See more information about the PUWER Regs >

P.U.W.E.R. 1998 Work Equipment Regulations

PUWER - The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, requires that Power Presses with automatic, photoelectric or interlocking guards are inspected every 6 months. Power Presses with fixed guards or enclosed tooling should be examined every 12 months, by a competent person.

In addition to this, PUWER requires that hazardous or process machinery with guards should be inspected regularly and although intervals are not specified, similar ones to the above are advised. Under these regulations, all work equipment requires some form of inspection, with the level of inspection and inspector competency increasing as the hazard and the complexity of the equipment increases.

For paper guillotines and plastic injection moulding machines, there are Guidance Notes which also recommend periodic safety inspections by competent persons.

The laws of PUWER 1998 have a wide definition of work equipment. It includes some equipment that previous legislation did not cover.

Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 – PSSR

The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 require pressure systems to be inspected in accordance with a Written Scheme of Examination. The regulations apply to owners and users of relevant fluids including steam, gases under pressure and any fluid kept artificially under pressure and which becomes a gas when released to the atmosphere.

There is a legal requirement for thorough examination of pressure vessels and receivers that contain steam, compressed air and refrigerants. Any pressure vessel containing compressed gas over 250 bar / litres capacity requires inspection.

To establish whether a vessel requires inspection, multiply the vessel operating pressure (in bar units) by the vessel capacity (in Litres).
For example, a vessel with 10 bar x 50 Litres = 500 bar / litres capacity and therefore is above the 250 bar / litre threshold, requiring an inspection with a written scheme of examination.

Owner / users of refrigeration plant containing pressure vessels, with compressor power over 25 kilowatts also require a written scheme of examination and inspection.

Control of substances Hazardous to Health Regulations – 2002 - COSHH

COSHH regulation 9 relates to owners / users of local exhaust ventilation systems, LEV plant and dust / fume extraction equipment are legally obligated to have periodic Thorough Examinations by a competent person. This involves testing and evaluation using measuring and quantitative techniques.

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