What is equipment inspection?
The periodic and regular checking & documenting of equipment’s condition.
What equipment needs to be inspected?
Why should I get my equipment inspected?
According to AS/NZS 1891.4:2009 and manufacturer’s user instructions, ‘working at height’ PPE must undergo a documented inspection every 6 months by a ‘competent’ person.
Most people do not have a complete understanding of the inspection requirements of equipment. If you carry out an incorrect or incomplete inspection you could be putting your own life at risk as well as others.
What will happen if I do not have my equipment inspected?
In many cases, nothing will happen but if an incident occurs, investigators may request your PPE inspection records. If you do not have comprehensive evidence of a full and complete equipment inspection by a competent person, you may be liable for any damages/injuries caused in the incident if it is found that the equipment was a contributing factor or cause.
How often should I get my equipment inspected?
You should visually check your equipment before and after every use for damage but this does not replace regular documented inspection.
It is advised that equipment is checked on a 6-monthly basis. Check the manufacturer’s instructions/manual as it will often give a guideline.
If your equipment has been involved in an incident, it is important to have it checked before putting it back into service as it may have some damages that are not easily detected.
What should I do if my equipment is involved in an incident?
Tag it out and remove it from service immediately! Depending on the type of incident and the results of the incident, your equipment may be damaged in a way that is not clear or apparent. By using the equipment before it has been properly inspected, you may be putting your life and the lives of others at risk.
Who can inspect my equipment?
A ‘competent person’. The definition of a competent person varies from state to state. Where possible, it is always advised that an inspector should have relevant qualifications and experience. Inspectors should also be from a third-party to ensure an independent and non-bias inspection is carried out.
How long does an inspection take and how much does it cost?
Charges for equipment inspection vary between inspectors and states. Some inspectors charge per item and some charge per hour.
The duration of the inspection will vary based on the type and quantity of equipment. If an inspector is assessing equipment quickly, there may be a chance that they are not doing a correct and proper inspection. Conversely, if they are taking a long time, it may indicate a lack of experience or understanding of what they are inspecting.
An inspection will take significantly longer if you have not had your equipment inspected and logged correctly in the past. Recording data for the first time will consume a large amount of time. Once equipment has been inspected and logged, future inspections will be a lot quicker. The process can also be made more efficient through the use of RFID.
What is RFID?
Radio Frequency Identification. RFID usually involves a small dot or label attached to equipment, which can be read using an RFID reader. Rather than trawling through a database to find an item, it will be identified immediately, making the inspection process far more efficient.
How can I ensure my equipment lasts as long as safely possible?
This depends on the type of equipment and the manufacturing material used. However, as a general rule of thumb:
- Don’t attach stickers to equipment (stickers can have harmful chemicals in the adhesives).
- Do not write on equipment (some markers contain chemicals which can damage equipment)
- Keep equipment clean. Maintaining equipment in good working order can prevent excessive wear
- Store equipment away from chemicals, pests, sharp edges, damp areas. These can all reduce the lifespan of equipment or automatically cause equipment to fail an inspection.
- Read manufacturer instructions
- Use equipment for its intended configuration(s) only. If you use equipment incorrectly or the incorrect equipment, you may be unknowingly causing damage to your gear.
- When taking equipment in for inspection:
o Take all paperwork and/or records you have for that item
o Talk to inspectors before handing over the item(s). Ensure they know the item’s full history and how it is used
o Ensure it is clean and ready for inspection
o Where possible, leave equipment configured. If you are having issues with items, leaving them configured may assist the inspector on assessing the issue(s).
The new Certificate III in Arboriculture, which is due for release at the end of the year, includes a unit which aligns with the competency requirements for a height safety equipment inspector for arboricultural equipment.
More details on periodic inspection of PPE and height safety equipment are contained in MIS309 Equipment Inspection, which is due for publication by Arboriculture Australia Ltd in the last quarter of 2019.