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Plant and equipment: reports of thorough examination which identify serious defects

A range of plant and machinery is legally required to undergo a regular thorough examination by a competent person. This includes:

  • lifting appliances such as cranes and fork-lift trucks
  • lifting equipment such as chains and ropes
  • pressure systems

Thorough examinations are normally undertaken by an engineer surveyor acting on behalf of an insurance company.

If the report identifies that a defect requires immediate attention, take the equipment out of use immediately.

Do not continue to use it before the defect has been satisfactorily remedied.

Examination reports

An engineer surveyor will complete a 'Thorough Examination Report' which includes:

  • name and address of the employer and premises
  • particulars identifying the equipment (including date of manufacture if known)
  • date of last examination
  • safe working load (where applicable)
  • intervals between thorough examination
  • identification of any part found to have a defect which presents an immediate risk of danger and particulars of any repair, renewal or alteration required to remedy the defect
  • where a defect has not yet, but could become, a danger to persons, the timescales by which it could become a danger and particulars of works required to remedy it
  • the latest date by which the next thorough examination must be carried out
  • details of the person making the report and the person signing

Identified defects

The engineer surveyor will explain to you the nature of the defect and its seriousness, particularly in relation to the continued use of the equipment.

Action required

Where the engineer surveyor identifies a defect which presents an immediate risk of danger the equipment or machine must be taken out of use immediately. This may be identified on the report as 'any part found to have a defect which is a danger to persons' or similar'. Examples include:

  • worn or wasted structural components such as forks or chassis
  • defective safety components such as safety valves
  • damaged lifting ropes or chains

Sometimes a defect may need to be fixed within a specified timescale. The equipment can continue to be used until this date, but if the defect has not been rectified within the timescale, the equipment must be taken out of use until it is rectified.

The examination report may also identify 'other defects'. Although these are generally defects that do not present any immediate physical safety risks they may include recommendations intended to address legal deficiencies, and should be rectified as far as is reasonably practicable. It is however important that any issues raised in the report are not overlooked.

Note: If the report identifies that a defect requires immediate attention, take the equipment out of use immediately.

Under certain legal requirements, the engineer surveyor is required to send a copy of the report to the Health and Safety Inspectorate if there is an immediate risk of danger. You may be contacted by an Inspector if you receive a 'Thorough Examination Report' containing defects which present, or could present, a danger to any person.

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