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Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by competent person?

HSE defines competency as the combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge that a person has and their ability to apply them”.

PSSR 2000 2.10 states that “The term ‘competent person’ refers not to the individual employee who carries out duties under the Regulations but to the body which employs the person charged with those duties. Thus, the definition of competent person makes it clear that the legal duty to comply rests with a competent person’s employer, and not with an individual, unless that person is self-employed.

Who is a competent person?

HSE advises that “Users (or owners) of pressure systems are free to select any competent person, but they should take all reasonable steps to ensure that the person selected can actually demonstrate competence, ie the necessary breadth of knowledge, experience and independence.”

PSSR 2000 2.10 states that “The term ‘competent person’ refers not to the individual employee who carries out duties under the Regulations but to the body which employs the person charged with those duties. Thus, the definition of competent person makes it clear that the legal duty to comply rests with a competent person’s employer, and not with an individual, unless that person is self-employed.

What is a Written Scheme of Examination?

The written scheme of examination specifies items for examination, a frequency for examination (eg. 6, 12, 24 months) and contains details as to how the equipment is to be examined. If any special measures are required to prepare the system for safe examination then these are included.

What is covered under a Written Scheme of Examination?

Pressure storage units: 

This includes air receivers, boilers, autoclaves, gas cylinders and pressure cookers

Protective devices:

This includes pressure gauges, safety valves, pipework, level indicators and pressure and temperature switches

This is NOT an exhaustive list and a competent person must be employed to certify and establish items for inclusion to a written scheme.

Access can be arranged so that the “End User” a “Group Owner” a “Service Provider” would be provided with different levels of access.

Do I need a Written Scheme of Examination?

Under the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations you must have a WSE in place prior to the use of the system. This system will include a rigid vessel and a relevant fluid, mainly gas (Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, Argon, Steam among others), with a pressure at 0.5 Bar or above excluding steam, which is at any pressure.

What will happen if I don't have a WSE?

Firstly, a WSE and Pressure System inspections and examinations are a legal requirement under Health and Safety law, without these in place you will be breaking the law and will be subject to potential fines and prosecution by HSE. Also, furthermore the whole purpose for a WSE and further examinations is to ensure the safety of the machinery in use; without one leaves the potential for workplace accidents and in worse case scenarios these can be deadly.

What is a statutory examination?
  • An external and/or internal check of the pressure vessels, looking for cracks rusting, wear and tear.
  • Visual and physical checks of the protective devices.
Who should carry out the examinations?

The examinations must be carried out by a Competent Person(s), whether this be your insurance company or an independent provider.

Is it like a service?

The inspections are not a service of the machinery; the examinations are not to ensure the machinery is working fully to do its function, but rather if the system is working safely. The necessary inspections can be compared more to an MOT on a vehicle; What is being checked is whether at the point of inspection is the machinery safe to use.

What will be on my Examination report?

Inspection reports detail:-

  • information from the identification plate or test certificate
  • ultrasonic scan of the vessel wall thickness
  • internal visual examination of internal wall condition and welds
  • examination of protective devices including pressure gauges, relief / safety valves
  • check the safe operating limits
  • and any additional safety issues relating to the vessel and its peripherals
Do exams have to be completed by my Insurance Company?

This simple answer is no. It is a common myth that insurance companies MUST carry out the statutory examinations (commonly known as insurance inspections). This is not the case.

Best practice is for an independent and impartial body to provide this service. An independent body with a competent person can complete the exams and will provide the necessary documents required for insurance companies.

Frequently Insurance companies hide the price of examinations in their premiums, and the examinations often do not include all the aspects of the examination that Mandate cover, so are not like for like quality examinations.

How are my documents presented?

All examination reports are retained securely online and are available to you 24/7 for immediate access or download, in PDF.

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