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COVID-19 Carrying out thorough examination and testing

HSE latest guidance on thorough examination and testing of lifting and pressure equipment during the coronavirus outbreak

HSE recognises the potential challenges when carrying out legal requirements for thorough examination and testing (TE&T) of plant and equipment as a result of additional precautions people need to take to help reduce risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The law for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) remain in place.

The following advice is to help dutyholders (you) ensure that their work plant and equipment remain safe to use. It helps to guide decision making to see if TE&T requirements can still be met.

Maintaining your thorough examination and testing scheme

  • ensure social distancing measures in the workplace aren’t perceived to be a barrier to carrying out TE&T – businesses and inspection bodies should cooperate to ensure access to plant and equipment for TE&T continues to schedule

  • for businesses that are currently closed, ie they have either elected or been required to do so to meet COVID-19 related government advice or restrictions, you should still give access to visiting inspectors to undertake thorough examinations

  • there may be occasions where inspectors are not available to meet the demands of industry and this may lead to difficulties for some businesses fulfilling their obligations for TE&T. Inspectors are supporting GB industry to maintain operations and viability and may have to prioritise critical industries and the protection of equipment aiding vulnerable persons

  • if you experience problems in undertaking scheduled thorough examinations as you can’t cannot access inspection services, you should adopt a risk based process to determine the whether there are steps you can to take to safely continue to use equipment (that has not had its scheduled TE&T) or decide to stop using the equipment

  • the overarching legal obligation remains, ie ensure that equipment is safe to use

HSE’s enforcement approach during the period of the outbreak

HSE will adopt a pragmatic and proportionate approach towards enforcement action for non-compliance with statutory requirements which are directly attributable to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Our usual enforcement response will be to take no action if the only failing is that TE&T is not carried out by the required date.

Equipment should 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.

You must be able to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to have the TE&T carried out, made a thorough assessment of the increased risk and taken appropriate action to manage it.

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