Confined Space Equipment Maintenance/Inspection Schedules

How often should safety equipment used for confined spaces be maintained?

All equipment should be inspected and function tested by a competent person immediately prior to and after each use. In addition, the following inspections and maintenance are required/recommended under various standards and legislation.

Lifting Equipment (Tripods, Winches, Recovery Blocks)

  • 6 monthly thorough inspection by competent person
  • Annual service / testing as required by manufacturer

Under Regulation 9 of LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998), lifting equipment (and accessories) used for man riding should have a thorough examination on a 6 monthly basis by a competent person.  

Manufacturers state that lifting equipment should be serviced* annually.  This is not to be confused with an insurance inspection..

This is typically carried out by the manufacturers themselves or by a service agent (CSTS is a service agent for many manufacturers).

Fall Arrest Equipment (Retractable Fall Arresters, Lanyards)

  • 12 monthly inspection by competent person - wire type equipment
  • 6 monthly inspection by competent person - rope or webbing equipment
  • 12 monthly service / testing as required by manufacturer

BS EN 365 (Personal Protective Equipment Against Falls From a Height...) recommends detailed inspection at least every 12 months.  INDG 367 (Inspecting Fall Arrest Equipment made from Webbing or Rope) recommends detailed inspection at least every 6 months.  Both documents state that this should be the maximum interval between inspections and users should increase inspection frequency where equipment is used in arduous conditions.

Harnesses

  • 12 monthly inspection by competent person - where used for fall arrest only
  • 6 monthly inspection by competent person - where used for lifting / lowering or work positioning

BS EN 365 (Personal Protective Equipment Against Falls From a Height...) recommends detailed inspection at least every 12 months but more frequently is used in arduous conditions.  LOLER  (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998) states a thorough examination is required by a competent person at least every 6 months.

Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus (Full BA, Bandoliers, Escape BA)

  • Monthly inspection by a competent person
  • Annual service / testing as required by manufacturer
  • 5 yearly cylinder test
  • Major services at intervals prescribed by manufacturer (typically between 5 and 12 years)

HSG 53 (Respiratory Protective Equipment at Work) states that breathing apparatus should have thorough maintenance, inspection and tests on a monthly basis, however if it is used only occasionally then this interval can be extended to a maximum of 3 months.  Manufacturer's also state additional service intervals - check with individual manufacturers or your service agent.

Rebreather Escape Sets

Maintenance requirements for re-breathers vary considerably depending upon manufacturer, for example:

  • MSA - annual positive pressure leak test, 5 yearly overhaul, end of life at 10 years.
  • Drager - 2 yearly weight check, end of life at 10 years.

Air Compressors

  • 3 monthly air quality checks

HSG 53 (Respiratory Protective Equipment at Work) states that air supply to breathing apparatus should be air-quality tested at least every three months and more frequent when the air supply cannot be assured; in addition mobile air supply (compressors) should be tested whenever re-sited.

Gas Detection (Portable and Fixed)

  • Daily bump test for flammable sensors
  • 6 monthly calibration

The ATEX Directive 94/9/EC requires flammable detectors to be bump tested at the start of each use (many users also bump test their other sensors at the same time).  Gas detectors also typically require 6 monthly calibrations although this can vary between instruments so check with your manufacturer or service agent.   

For further advice or to book your equipment in for maintenance, call our Maintenance Departments on