Inspect 2 Protect Inspection Services
Inspect 2 Protect Inspection Services

Why Inspect PPE ?


General aspects – What is P.P.E?

P.P.E is Personal Protective Equipment an item of P.P.E is defined as a device for Individual Protection which protects a person from a risk which threatens his or her security. This definition is extended to interdependently associated devices as well as to interchangeable components.


Why Inspect?


        Any harness has a limited life span.

·         PPE should be inspected in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

·         Many insurers insist on an inspection regime and register to offer cover.

·         Without regular inspection PPE may not be fit for purpose.

·         It is within an employer’s duty of care to ensure that all equipment is maintained to a suitable standard.


Why Inspection And Not Testing?


Previous regulations covering “traditional” lifting equipment (such as wire ropes and shackles) required a proof load test. This is no longer the case. Most PPE for work at height is textile (rope, harness, etc.) and such equipment is damaged by high loads, so a load text would only show an item was ok before it was tested, the test itself would prevent further use by causing irreparable damage. Metal items such as karabiners may be successfully proof loaded with care, but this test must then be followed by a visual inspection, so it’s easier just too visual inspect in the first place. Visual inspection is the simplest way to assess the condition of karabiners and pulleys, and the only way to assess ropes, harnesses and other textile items.



Legal Requirements for inspection

WAHR (Working At Height Regulations) place duties on employers and other duty holders concerned with managing or carrying out work at height, via regulation 12. This guidance is intended to cover only personal protective equipment (PPE).

In addition to the requirements in WAHR, there are also requirements in the Lifting Operations  and  Lifting Equipment Regulations  (LOLER), the Provision and use of Work Equipment   Regulations (PUWER), BSEN 365:2004 and BS 8437 which contains both general and specific information on periodic inspection of Fall Protection Equipment .

The basic philosophy of WAHR regarding equipment and inspections the:

1.      Equipment used is fit for purpose

2.      Equipment is regularly inspected to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

3.      Equipment is marked and any other information is provided to inform a user of the Parameters of use of that piece of equipment.


The primary means for ensuring an item is fit for use “inspection”. The regulations recognise various types of inspection, which vary with respect to how often they are done, the thoroughness, and the records which must be kept. The types of inspection are defined as:

1.      “Pre-use check”

All operators must be able to recognise damage and defects in their equipment which would render it unsafe (Before every use).


2.     “Inspection”

Carried out between thorough examinations on items subject to rapid deterioration (if necessary)


3.     “Thorough examination”

Carried out by a competent person at intervals specified by schedule of inspection drawn up by the competent person.

A person is regarded as competent if they have “appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the equipment to be examined as will enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the equipment.”

They should also be “sufficiently independent  and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made”.


Controlling the use of equipment for work at height.


The Product Life Cycle

The history and conditions of use of a product should be known right from the time it is first purchased.

The rationale behind the purchase of the item should be clear to ensure it is compatible with other work equipment and for the use to which it will be put.

PPE should be provided with a certificate of conformity (C of C) which should relate to the purchase order and should indicate the loading characteristics of the product together with its compliance any related third party standards.

Once it has been put into use, the equipment should follow a regular cycle of inspection, cleaning, maintenance and record keeping, to ensure it is kept in optimum condition.


Equipment must be used and maintained within a controlled system – equipment which requires a thorough examination must be identified. The control process begins when the equipment id purchased. All items should be traceable back to their inspection records and original purchase order and certificate of conformity. The certificate of conformity is provided by the equipment supplier and formally states conformance with product standards and/or loading parameters.


Types of Damage

PPE can be broadly categorised by the material from which it is made, ie, metal and textile. Both types are affected by different types or mechanisms of damage (plastic helmets should be regarded as textile).

               Metal                                                   Textile

             Corrosion                                                   Cuts

                 Cuts                                                     Abrasion

              Abrasion                                               Burns / Melton

               Cracks                                                       Age

            Deformation                                              Chemicals


The types of damage listed can affect equipment in two ways, by either, reducing its strength or affecting its operation (e.g. prevent a connector from closing).



The only way to ensure traceability is to give every item an individual number. PUWER reg. 23 requires work equipment to be marked “in a clearly visible manner with markings appropriate for reason of health and safety”.

Marking Equipment

The safest way to mark any item is to mark on a non load bearing part of it. Harnesses may be written on in indelible pen but never on a load bearing webbing, this also applies to any other textiles items. Metal items may be engraved (avoid stamping). If it is not possible to mark on a non-load bearing part then try to keep the amount of marking to a minimum.


All inspections should be documented to show that they have been carried out. The person making the examination must be competent to do so and must be identified. Useful comments may be recorded at this stage. Reports of thorough examinations must be kept for any equipment which is in use and should be available for inspection if required.

Frequency of Inspection

Inspections must be carried out at intervals in accordance with a “document schedule” The period between examinations is normally no greater than 6 months but risk assessment may indicate a shorter or longer period. There is no need to document pre-use checks but it is a good idea to have a log of usage so that users can record any contact with chemicals or shock loads etc.    



Particulars that should be included in a report of inspection


1.     The name and address of the person for whom the inspection was carried out .


2.     The location of the work equipment  being inspected.


3.     A description of the work equipment  being inspected.


4.     The date of the inspection.


5.     Details of any matter identified that could give rise to a risk to health and safety of any person.


6.     Details of  any action taken as a result of any matter identified in paragraph 5.


7.     Details of any further action considered necessary.


8.     The name and position of the person carrying out the inspection.


Where to find us:

Inspect 2 Protect


Kirkpatrick Fleming


Dumfries and Galloway

DG11 3AU


Mobile: 077954 80890

Our business hours

Mon-Fri :

08:00  - 18:00 

Sat, Sun :

09:00  - 16:00 

We're looking forward to hearing from you!

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