Customers may be unaware of their legal duty to periodically inspect equipment. This will leave you open to regulatory action and even criminal prosecution if something went wrong.
Health and safety law requires customers to have reasonably practicable inspection and maintenance. It is surprising the amount of equipment which can be found in sports and social clubs and of these would you know which ones required a regulatory inspection?
Failure to comply with these laws can attract large fines, and the most serious cases of negligence can lead to imprisonment. Customers need to be aware of their duties regarding inspections, and ensure they have taken appropriate action.
What type of equipment requires inspection?
A critical area of health & safety management is the examination of plant and equipment to comply with various legislation. Equipment found within clubs may require statutory inspections to comply with:
PSSR The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations
LOLER The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
EAWR The Electricity at Work Regulations
PUWER The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
The typical types of equipment that may be found in a club which require a statutory inspection include:
- Hot Water Heating/Supply Systems
- Passenger/Goods Lifts
- General Electrical/Mechanical Plant e.g. Motors, Pumps
- Electrical Installations e.g. Fixed Wiring – in addition to its statutory requirement this may also be an insurance condition which must be adhered to.
The periodicity of the inspection will be dependent on the item of equipment and the legislation that applies to it.
According to John McMullen, Chief Engineer at Zurich “Air conditioning is also something that many people overlook. Infrequent inspections can, in extreme cases, lead to serious corrosion and a potential explosion, and depending on the size of the pressure unit, the Pressure Systems Safety Regulation (PSSR) may stipulate how regularly inspections need to be conducted.”
Evidence of compliance with health and safety law is very important if customers are to avoid interventions from the regulator. An engineering inspection contract helps demonstrate compliance, independence and impartiality as well as giving customers an opportunity to identify defects early, before they cause damage or harm.
Defending a claim/prosecution
Even with the most rigorous inspection and maintenance regimes, accidents can happen. Should someone be injured or lose their life, this may result in a personal injury claim and/or criminal prosecution against the organisation and its directors personally. The Corporate Manslaughter law has also gathered momentum since it came into force in 2008. With the Crown Prosecution Service bringing new cases to trial each year, it is more important than ever that organisations ensure their health and safety risks are properly managed.
Changes to sentencing and fines which are happening now/soon are sufficiently substantial to have real economic impact and bring home to both management and shareholders the need to comply with Health and safety legislation.