11 July 2019

The right tools for the job? Check the safety of equipment and staff

By Road Runner
Tools in a car workshop

Insurance is often seen as simply a financial security belt, but wouldn’t it be better to prevent the accident before it happens?

A range of regulations have an impact on the way most garage services operate. These can often seem like an unnecessary burden, however in reality these rules can be a blessing.

Just take the story of an engineer who was inspecting a vehicle lift. Due to time restraints, the process had to fit around work commitments, so that the work could be completed on time. The engineer had access to the lift while the mechanic was on a break, and quickly discovered that the loading nuts had failed. The entire weight of the lift and vehicle was being held up by the much weaker safety nuts.

That could easily have put the garage out of business, with the added pressure of investigations and potential fines. But a relatively quick fix kept the business operating and generating cash flow.

So what are the requirements for garages and mechanics? What you need to know about some of the main regulations affecting the motor trade are listed below:

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 or “LOLER”

These regulations cover work equipment that lifts or lowers a load. They consider the type of load being lifted, the risk of that load or equipment falling and striking a person or object and the consequences of that.

Equipment covered in a typical garage:

  • various types of vehicle lift
  • engine cranes
  • hydraulic trolley jacks
  • chain blocks and any other lifting accessories

Inspection frequency:

  • 6 or 12 months
The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 aka “PSSR”

These regulations deal with pressure systems containing ‘relevant fluids’ such as air receivers, which store compressed air in some types of air compressor.
This regulation requires a ‘Written Scheme of Examination’ to be drawn up, which defines the inspection requirement.

Local Exhaust Ventilation or “LEV” for short

LEV is common in garages and is used to remove hazardous gases and substances from the working environment (e.g. paint fumes, exhaust gases etc). Regulation is under Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

Inspection frequency:

  • For spray booths: 14 months
  • Other equipment: 6 months
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

These regulations are designed to prevent the risk of death or injury from the use of electricity at all places of work.

Inspections cover: 

  • Basic wiring installation
  • Motors/transformers
  • Switchboards and other items that carry electrical currents

Inspection frequency:

  • 3 to 5 years
Who can carry out these inspections?

Any individual who carries out these inspections must be competent to do so. That means they should:

  • Have practical and theoretical knowledge
  • Have experience of the plant being examined
  • Be independent and impartial to allow objective decisions
  • Not be the same person who completes the maintenance function, as per HSE guidance

Not only is it a legal requirement to ensure your equipment is inspected in line with the various regulations, but it will also help you demonstrate a professional approach to running your business.

It will also ensure your business remains claim-free, helping keep your insurance premiums down. Road Runner Motor Trade Insurance Ltd is a specialist insurer, focusing on the insurance needs of the independent motor trade professionals. It can help you arrange most statutory inspection requirements, utilising large workforce of specialist engineers employed by RSA.
The information provided is intended to be a guide only. If you are in any doubt about your personal circumstances, you can contact the Road Runner insurance team on 0330 100 8720

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