For businesses that are currently closed either by election or being required to do so to meet COVID-19 related government advice or restrictions, the HSE have advised that access to visiting inspectors to undertake thorough examinations should still be provided.
Difficulties in completing TE&T may arise due to four key issues:
• Reduced availability of engineers to complete TE&T due to sickness absenceor self-isolation as a direct result of COVID-19
• Owners of plant and equipment (dutyholders) refusing access to premises forTE&T as they feel unable to accommodate visiting engineers whilemaintaining social distancing (SD) in the workplace.
• Refusal of engineers to enter a dutyholder’s premises to carry out TE&T dueto concerns over social distance arrangements being adequate.
• Plant and equipment being unavailable for TE&T if a workplace or site isclosed due to COVID-19 SD restrictions.
Effectively in these cases TE&T may not be taking place due to either unavailability
of or unwillingness of competent persons to deliver the service, or due to dutyholders
inability or unwillingness to give access to the equipment for testing.
HSE recognise that there may be some circumstances that will lead to equipment
falling outside its time limits for TE&T, and therefore dutyholders being unable to
comply with the law and having to take the equipment out of service if unable to
operate it safely.
The statutory obligations remain in place and the following is intended to ensure that
work plant and equipment remain safe to use and provides a framework for decision
making if TE&T requirements cannot be met. This guidance is intended primarily to
help dutyholders and the inspection bodies maintain the overarching scheme of
thorough examination and testing. It then sets out a risk-based approach to be
applied when all attempts to ensure TE&T have been exhausted.