Break Glass in case of Emergency! Regulatory Assurance, a step up from Compliance – Part 2

Break Glass in case of Emergency! Regulatory Assurance, a step up from Compliance – Part 2

In this joint article, Senior Consultants and Expert Witnesses Tom Leach and Richard Hoyle discuss the difference between compliance and regulatory assurance and the responsibilities of owner and duty holders to ensure the suitability of equipment and safety of their employees. This is part 2.



Written by

EUR ING Tom Leach Richard Hoyle

What legislation applies to work equipment in the UK?

Regulations and ACOPs are intended to assist an organisation in complying with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 but can also be legally binding in their own right. It is important to remember that the primary purpose of UK Health and Safety legislation is not just compliance, it is to ensure the safety of people, by ensuring the safety of people, this assists in achieving compliance with the HSWA 1974. As owners and duty holders, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of those persons in your employment and those persons who are not in your employment, i.e. members of the public whose safety may be affected by your activities.

There are several pieces of legislation that apply to work equipment in the UK. Legislative regulations and statutory instruments are laws in the UK that must be abided by. Below are a few examples of the most common that will be relevant for most businesses. Other, more specialist regulations such as DSEAR and COMAH are relevant to dangerous and explosive atmospheres.  These regulations are discussed in more detail in an article by Tristan Pulford.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA)

This is the overarching primary piece of legislation in Great Britain covering occupation health and safety. This is the dominant piece of legislation that the HSE prosecutes under most times.

The Lift Regulations 2016

The 2016 Regulations provide powers to market surveillance authorities to take action to protect consumers, workers, and users from the risks associated with unsafe lifts or associated safety components.  This allows those authorities to take action against economic operators that present a risk through the import/export of unsafe Lifts/components or are not in compliance with the Regulations.

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 - LOLER

LOLER place duties on people and companies who own, operate, or have control over lifting equipment. This includes all businesses and organisations whose employees use lifting equipment, whether owned by them or not.  As the title states, this is not just about safe and suitable equipment it is also about how you conduct lifting/lowering operations from a small chain block in the garage to a heavy lift crane.

Every employer, owner, or duty holder has a legal responsibility under each of the applicable regulations to ensure the safety of those persons in their employment, but also have a duty of care to those persons not in their employment who may be affected by their operations and incumbent responsibilities, this not only extends to sub-contractors but also extends to members of the public.

REMEMBER: Compliance is only part of the story – To get there and maintain a viable, relevant, and robust approach to health and safety you must also put in place an assurance assessment and plan to keep on top of changes to your operations, personnel, and legislation.

What can you do?

  1. Ensure you comply fully with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by ensuring your organisation has robust policies and procedures.
  2. Carry out and document regular Risk Assessments in accordance with The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, of work activities and work equipment.
  3. Make certain that wherever required, all equipment complies with the Supply of Machinery Safety Regulations 2008. If in doubt ask a professional, like Finch, for assistance.
  4. Ensure you have effective management of work equipment under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Ensure that equipment is suitable for the work and that it is competently inspected and maintained in accordance with the level of use, environment, and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) instructions.
  5. Work closely with your Thorough Examination Provider who, where appropriate carries out the Thorough Examination under LOLER, PSSR, or PUWER. Thorough Examinations are not to be considered as a gold-plated stamp of compliance. A report of Thorough Examination is only equivalent to an MOT certificate for the next statutory period.
  6. These basic things are only as good as the documents and records that detail what you have done. You must have robust, clear, and relevant documents that are reviewed regularly, and understood and the information communicated to the relevant parties to which they affect. How? – training, toolbox talks, maintenance and inspection schedules, work equipment procurement planning, policy and procedures etc.

The aim of course is to mitigate the risk of an incident happening but also to ensure that if there is an incident in the workplace and you have to ‘break the glass’, you confidently know that you have done all you could have done to prevent and mitigate as much risk as possible and robust documentation to support that can be used for internal investigations and/or handed to the enforcement authority for scrutinisation.

How can Finch assist?

Finch has over 500 years’ worth of combined expertise and experience across an incredible range of industries. Our consultants and experts cover all aspects of Health and Safety Legislation as well as recognised industry knowledge in Process Safety and Asset Management.

Senior Consultants Tom Leach and Richard Hoyle both have 1st hand knowledge and experience in conducting post-incident investigations, both are time served in the statutory inspection industry, having both held senior positions in two of the largest Inspection providers in the UK covering LOLER, PSSR, PUWER, and COSHH. They conduct machinery risk assessments, document audits, and assist organisations with technical and regulatory due diligence on policy, procedures, and procurement.  As a completely independent, impartial third-party pair of eyes, they are adept at spotting gaps and risk exposure points to bring assurance to your organisation, which is more valuable than compliance alone.

If you feel your organisation needs a regulatory health check, please do not hesitate to reach out to Tom and Richard to discuss your requirements.


Regulatory Assurance, assure your business, reassure your people.