We are regularly asked to clarify the legal situation regarding re-testing of fall arrest systems, safety lines and eyebolts:
“Is it a legal requirement to annually re-test our safety systems, even when the system hasn’t been used?”
Don’t leave your re-test responsibilities to chance – have your Fall Arrest System brought up to date for your own peace of mind – it isn’t worth the risk!
HSE Guidelines are that systems should be checked annually and a visible tag applied with the date of the last re-test. If this not the case on your current system you should consider the following points:
- By not taking responsibility for a fall arrest system that complies to current legislation you are putting yourselves as a business, at risk of prosecution should an incident occur and the systems is out of date. Unfortunately this occurrence is being reported on more and more recently.
- HSE spot checks are being carried out around the country, and we are aware of a number of visits that have resulted in urgent and costly action being taken.
- Remember if someone accessed your roof space without the knowledge of the H & S / Facilities Manager, and an incident occurs, the responsibility will still fall on you, and you risk being sued by your own Staff or contractors.
- For the small fee that an annual re-test, certification and tagging programme costs, is it really worth taking the risk.
- We are unfortunately hearing of incidences where insurances are being invalidated if your system documentation is not up to date or doesn’t comply with latest HSE regulations, and this is now starting to creep into the small print of insurance policies.
- You must also consider emergency situations, ie leaking roof, fire, maintenance issues. Your systems have been installed for a reason, and if in an emergency they are not up to date, they are basically rendered useless, and in the case of emergency you would leave yourself open to a potential disaster, which could easily have been averted.
- Severe weather conditions, whether extremely hot or cold, snow, ice etc, can drastically affect the performance of your system, and in recent cases we have seen corrosion and distortion following heavy snows which have made the systems unusable. The cost of repair/replacement of systems that have been affected in this manner will be much higher than the cost of an annual re-test.