14 April 2020
As highlighted by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), manufacturing is a critical part of our economy with no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules. Rather than a reduction in production due to the impact of COVID-19, industry has seen an increase in demand within key industry sectors. The reality is an increase in production alongside a reduction in personnel due to the challenges COVID-19 presents, increasing the chance of incidents and potential accidents.
This increase in production may require equipment to be placed into use that has not been operated for some time. To keep up with demand, reduced maintenance schemes may be introduced in a reactive, rather than preventative nature. Intense work patterns, changes in shift rota’s and introduction of temporary staff will require a greater need for reliable and safe work equipment. This is a hard balance to achieve and often one that is neglected, placing not only operational personnel at risk but also companies against potential punitive HSE intervention.
During this period everyone needs to ensure that they continue to follow the correct procedures and comply with relevant regulations. Employers have a requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act Section 2 to provide safe plant and equipment to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Regulation 6 of PUWER requires work equipment to be inspected by a competent person to support this provision. Regulation 6 can be required at a frequency determined by a competent person or when other factors can affect equipment safety. This includes; moving machinery from one location to another; before putting into use for the first time; when exposed to conditions causing deterioration; refurbishment / modification or a change in use.
TÜV SÜD can help through these difficult times by ensuring all workplace compliance needs are met and up to date, workforces are safe, and provided with the safest environment possible. We are staying focused, but with extreme flexibility in order to fit around these essential restrictions, continually looking at new and innovative ways to service our partners. We are achieving this by minimising site time for inspection, only travelling when required to do so and building inspection around production demand and exploring the possibilities of remote virtual inspections.
We understand meeting these obligations can be difficult during this time, but you can be rest assured that the safety and well-being of our customers and employees is our highest priority. We continue to closely monitor the ongoing situation and following best practice guidelines from Public Health England in order to ensure that any support provided can be done safely, whether it be on new or existing customer sites, or hosting customers in our state of the art Labs.
If you require any support with machinery safety, contact our experts on: 01642 345 637