Tag Archives: health risks

Statutory inspections: COVID-19


We understand that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and businesses are facing restrictions or challenges to their normal operation including statutory inspections. This could involve the closing of premises and challenges associated with receiving support from contractors who normally carry out statutory inspections, examinations and tests of plant and equipment even if premises are open. 

We will detail guidance published by Barbour in relation to statutory inspections during COVID-19, including legal implications, facts to consider and advice on the best course of action in these exceptional circumstances.

Delays in statutory inspections, examinations and tests

Difficulty in getting support from contractors carrying out statutory inspections, examinations and test of plant and equipment or the need to close premises is to be expected in the current climate. However, failure to carry these out would be a breach of legislation which could lead to potential enforcement actions including prosecution.

As far as plant and equipment is concerned, you minimise your risk of prosecution and help to ensure the safety of your staff and others if additional steps are taken to mitigate risks arising from delays in inspection. It should also be considered to inform the HSE of your position and plan of action as you are less likely to be subjected to enforcement action if they have been informed of your situation and raise no issues with your proposal at the time.

However, there are some statutory requirements for thorough examination and inspection or testing of plant or machinery, including lifts, lifting equipment, pressure systems and local exhaust ventilation, which include a set time frame. These fall under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAH) (for scaffolding).  Failure to maintain some systems, in particular fire sprinkler and detection systems, may invalidate the insurance for the premises even if the premises are closed.

If taking plant out of use is putting vulnerable persons at risk, a careful decision would need to be made and it may be necessary to seek further advice from the HSE for these specific circumstances. This should only be considered when failure to keep plant and equipment operating poses a genuine risk, rather than an inconvenience, to vulnerable persons’ safety.

What mitigating steps should be considered

  • Assess which plant and equipment require statutory inspections and examinations and when these are due. 
  • Place any plant or equipment which has not had its mandatory inspection and is not essential, out of service until an inspection can be carried out.
  • Where, however, equipment is essential, a risk assessment of the equipment with input from engineers familiar with the equipment and those who operate it should be carried out to consider what might fail, the potential consequences that this poses, and focus on how that risk might be eliminated or managed.
  • Inform your insurance company if any planned inspection and testing is not being completed or if premises or part of the premises are closed. 
  • If closing premises for a period of time, and where it is decided to shut off the power to services such as electrical, gas, water and ventilation systems, plant shutdowns should be undertaken in accordance with manufacturer instructions to ensure that it is done safely. On subsequent restart manufacturer guidance should be followed to ensure that the plant is re-energised safely and to avoid potential damage. 
  • Follow Public Health England recommendations on hygiene and social distancing (maintain two metres between people). 
  • Additional checks with prescribed frequency e.g. daily or at the beginning of each shift.
  • Parts pro-actively replaced rather than reactively.

To conclude

Regardless of delays in statutory inspections during COVID-19 it is essential that all plant and equipment is maintained for the safety of workers. Equipment must only be used outside of its test regime if you can demonstrate that it is critical for essential work and that it can still be operated safely. If there are any identified faults with plant or equipment, which could lead to a risk from its operation, it should be taken out of use immediately and securely isolated to prevent further use until the necessary repairs have been completed. 

For the full article published by Barbour on statutory inspection’s during COVID-19, click here. Finch Consulting also have a great article on this subject, to read click here.

If you require any further information or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

Inactivity – We can’t keep sitting still

We have become an immobile nation. On average, workers in the UK spend 60% of their waking hours sitting down – and if they’re office-based, this can rise to as much as 75%.

Official government data shows that 29% of people in England are classed as physically inactive, meaning that they do less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity in total per week, even though that can be split into three 10 minute sets. And sadly the statistics are likely to be similar throughout the whole of the UK. We really are sitting still – and the effects of this inactivity are huge, and include an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and premature death. It is the fourth largest cause of disease and disability, and directly contributes to one in six deaths in the UK – making it as dangerous as smoking.

The health repercussions of this are felt throughout the business world – sickness absence is estimated to cost UK businesses the vast sum of £27 billion per year – and inactivity is a large and combatable contributor to this.

It is vital that business leaders take a more pro-active role in providing opportunities and encouragement for their employees to be more active at work. Employee wellbeing needs to become a fundamental part of business, with a strong focus on increasing activity levels and improving health.

Progressive companies are introducing a wide range of incentives, including lunch-time yoga classes, increased use of standing workstations, balance boards, or exercise balls available to use instead of chairs, personalised activity plans, and even offering vouchers for shoes for people who walk to work. There are plenty of changes, small and large, that can be made – you just need to figure out what will work best for your team. These types of preventative actions lead to increased wellbeing and therefore reduced absence rates, and studies have also shown that they can also improve work productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction.

We can help you to take care of your team by providing:

  • DSE assessments to ensure that workstations allow staff to move dynamically
  • a range of sports and remedial assessments
  • on-site massages
  • advice on developing strategies to increase opportunities for movement

For help with creating or developing your company’s employee wellbeing programs and moving towards a healthier future, , click here to read further details of our Health and Wellbeing services and contact us on 0141 244 0181 or email info@amalgamate-safety.com.


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