Engineering inspection – a statutory requirement

As a motor trade insurance specialist Real Insurance sees many motor traders of all sizes throughout a year, these differ between a small trader doing a few repairs to franchised car and motor cycle dealers.

Almost all motor traders will use some sort of lifted or pressured equipment in their business, the most common items being vehicle lifting tables (ramps) and air receivers (compressors). These are just two types of items that need to have an inspection periodically to comply with H&S requirements.

A motor trade garage will have also manner of items that require an inspection, these are statutory which means it’s a legal requirement to have them inspected to certify that they are fit for purpose and safe to use.

Whilst the common items used in the garage are ramps and receivers, anything that is pressured or provides a means of lifting must be inspected.

Trolley Jacks, Transmissions Stands, Axle Stands, Engine Cranes, Block and Tackle, A Frames and Runways and where the garage also carries out spraying there is the exhaust systems that must be checked.

What is engineering inspection

To put Engineering Inspection into context it is similar to a vehicle requiring a MOT and is primarily about the safe operation of the equipment.

There can be some confusion around what should be inspected and who should be doing it.

The technical bit

For a garage, this governed by 2 sets of regulations being The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) for pressured items and The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) for lifting items.  Both of these regulations will state which type of items need to be inspected and how often.

There are others in respect of extraction systems but for this short explanation we have stuck to the general service and repair garage.

5 Common examples of why engineering inspections are not carried out

So here are just a few of the comments we frequently hear from motor trade garages that we find not having the  necessary statutory inspections carried out.

The inspection is carried out at the same time that the servicing is done.

Using the MOT example again, it doesn’t necessarily happen that a vehicle will have its MOT undertaken at the same time as the service.  There is a difference between servicing and inspecting, when the items are inspected it follows that a certificate will follow confirming the dates and the item inspected. Also with inspections it is generally the case that these would be undertaken by an engineer who is independent from whoever services the items.

Bob in the service dept does it

Is Bob suitably qualified to carry out safety inspections, can Bob provide the written report that is required to satisfy the Health & Safety Executive should they pay a visit?

The guys from (think of any large well known tools supply company) they come in to calibrate my lifts.

So, whilst they are calibrating them are they providing a certificate that ensures they meet the necessary safety levels? Our experience says not.

Whilst they may be carrying out calibrations on lifts and similar, what about trolley jacks, transmission stands, air receivers (compressor), these needs inspecting as well which if they are only dealing with lifts then there is a breach of health and safety regulations, your other items are not being inspected.

I don’t need to have any inspections done as I work on my own.

The Health and Safety at Work act says otherwise, you must provide a safe place of work and that includes whilst the proprietor works on their own. Being trapped under a vehicle with a ton or so of vehicle on top of you doesn’t make for a long and happy life.

All my machinery is old so it won’t pass any inspection

Ok, that’s fine then, until that is you have a visit from the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) who want to see that you have the necessary paperwork to prove that the inspections have been done.

In your case however the paperwork won’t exist and therefore the HSE will spend a lot of time looking for everything else you haven’t done and provide you with a rather large bill at the end of it, and you will still have to get the inspections carried out.

Much more cost effective to comply in the first place!

Ok, so we could go on but bear in mind that its not just the HSE that require you to have the necessary inspections carried out.

Your insurer will have a condition in the policy somewhere that will state that you must comply with all your obligations and statutory requirements or they reserve the right not to provide you with cover.

How much does engineering inspection cost?

This can be a very difficult question to answer because its dependent on many factors such as how many items of equipment does your motor trade garage have that requires the inspection.

There are other factors in this too such as the number of visits, if you have ramps in your garage then these are carried out at first use (installation) and then every six months thereafter.

Other items are such as the air receiver is inspected annually but a though internal every two years, usually this includes seeing inside the tank itself so sometimes you may find you are asked to remove some parts to allow the engineer access.

So, back to the question of what the cost of periodic engineering inspection is, we find that a minimum could be around the £200 plus VAT for the very basic inspection such as where there is just an air receiver and some trolley jacks, without any ramps, where for instance there might only be a pit used.

At Real Insurance Group we actively educate our clients about their obligations such as statutory  inspections of their plant. Our clients are free to use an independent inspection company but to save time we arrange the inspections along side their insurance cover to satisfy both the insurer and the HSE.

We offer the service along side our clients motor trade combined policy whether that is incorporated into the policy itself or provided by one of the independent inspection partners we use around the UK.