HSE issue guidance note on examination and testing of lifting and pressure equipment during the coronavirus outbreak
Published: 16 Apr 2020

Many organisations are facing unprecedented challenges as a consequence of the global coronavirus pandemic. One specific area in terms of health and safety that has been problematic for industry is their ability to meet statutory examination and testing requirements for their work equipment, particularly lifting and pressure equipment.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recognise the challenges when carrying out examination and testing of plant and equipment as a result of the additional precautions people need to take to help reduce risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

A dutyholders statutory obligations under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations SI 1998/2307, and the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations SI 2000/128, remain in place as these are important to ensure work plant and equipment is safe to use.

The HSE recognise in some circumstances equipment will fall outside of its time limits for statutory examination and inspection, so dutyholders will be unable to be legally compliant. However the HSE have stated they will take a pragmatic and proportionate approach towards enforcement action for non-compliance with statutory requirements which are directly attributable to the coronavirus outbreak.

To help dutyholders and inspection bodies, they have issued a guidance note to help maintain the overarching scheme of thorough testing and examination. This also sets out a risk based approach to be applied when all attempts at testing and examination have been exhausted. 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.  

Dutyholders must be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • made all reasonable attempts to have the testing and examination of equipment carried out;
  • made a thorough assessment of the increased risk; and
  • taken appropriate action to manage it.

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