17, April, 2020
Insurer responses to engineering inspections
Following the government decision to put the UK into lockdown, inspection service providers sought guidance from the HSE and SAFed on the approach required for statutory inspections. As of Thursday 26 March, inspections will be conducted in accordance with the latest HSE and SAFed (The Safety Assessment Federation) guidance.
Engineer surveyors are categorised as ‘Key workers’ and agreement has been reached across the UK inspection industry for the continuation of inspection services for essential services, which are as follows:
- Health care settings (hospitals, GP practices and essential NHS hubs) and pharmacies
- Schools used for essential workers child care
- Services and utilities (power, gas, water, sewage, waste)
- Retail, manufacturing, port services and transport serving essential provisions (food, medical supplies, fuel etc.)
- Maintenance and repair serving essential provision, as above
- Social / economically vital sites and services (construction, large employers)
- Essential commerce including Government / local council hubs of activity, banking
In respect of individual insurers stance on non essential service inspections please see their comments below:
Given the complex layers within supply chains to critical industries, we believe a good ‘rule of thumb’ will be that if a business is still open, it is either essential in its own right or providing products or services to those that are.
Allianz are confident that we will have the capacity during this period to continue to service the vast majority of locations that are still open for business.
Inspection activity for all other businesses will be suspended from Monday 30 March 2020 and is effective for a period of 4 weeks and all clients with examinations due within that period have been contacted.
No inspections will be conducted at non-essential retail, pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes and recreation centres (many of which are now closed). There is also a restriction on housing association and local authority housing stock, non-medical care homes and sheltered accommodation. This is in view of the government’s wish that people stay at home.
Effective for a period of 4 weeks and all clients with examinations due within that period have been contacted.
As per Inspection Network, Inspection of all other businesses will be suspended until further notice.
All non-essential industries, such as pubs, clubs, restaurants etc. are not included in this list. In addition, inspections of equipment in all residential properties are also not included, as these are viewed as providing a greater risk to our engineers with the current government restrictions to stay at home.
Statutory requirements for inspections
It is important to note the current position regards legal requirements for inspections. The current position of the HSE and HSA is that as yet, they confirm that no derogation (an exemption from or relaxation from the law), is currently being considered in relation to thorough examinations. The HSE have said that they will keep the situation under review and do not have any plans to issue any exemptions to the current regulations at this time. They confirm that if an examination of a piece of equipment is overdue, the responsibility remains with the duty holder (the customer) and a pragmatic approach should be adopted.
Items overdue for examination should not be used until the examination has been completed. Customers should focus on the highest risk items first and work in conjunction with their competent person to balance ongoing maintenance condition against the likelihood of the item failing catastrophically. Customers should consider focusing this first on premises where the most vulnerable are located such as hospitals and care homes, for example.
At Momentum we enjoy strong relationships with all our Engineering inspection providers and as such if your client is in need to be classified as an “essential service provider” then please do let us know and we will endeavour to get them prioritised.
The SAFed and our inspection providers will continue to review the situation regularly over the coming weeks and provide update accordingly.