Safety Critical Devices & Controls
Many items of University equipment and systems operated have integrated devices designed to mitigate or prevent critical failure. Examples of these include Pressure Relief Valves, Mechanical, Electro-mechanical & Electrical Interlocks, Lock-Off Switches, Pressure Pads, Fixed Guards; all of which have the common feature of providing a mechanism to stop a system or ensure it ‘fails safe’ protecting people, the environment and other assets in the process.
In addition, some items require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to operate effectively and of course, safely. It should be noted that operators and those staff responsible for in-house tests, inspections etc may also require training, instruction or a particular level of technical expertise.
The Table below provides examples of Safety Critical Devices and a suggested schedule of test / inspection / maintenance as directed or indicated by Legislation, authoritative guidance or manufacturer’s manuals. Items requiring Thorough Examinations or a Written Scheme of Examination must be notified to the University Insurance Officer who will arrange these via the University’s External Engineer.
The Table is not exhaustive. These are examples of what may require a formal test / inspection / maintenance and what records may be needed to confirm the system’s safety features are in working order.
It is requested that you take the opportunity to review your equipment and systems to identify all of the safety critical devices and controls, and introduce appropriate mechanisms to ensure they are tested, inspected, maintained and operated as required, with records kept of this where directed.
As part of this process Manufacturer’s Handbooks/Manuals must be checked. This is imperative as such documents will often identify what is specifically required and form the basis of a thorough maintenance and safety regime. In many cases professional bodies and enforcement agencies also offer detailed advice, particularly regarding high-hazard devices and equipment.
All records should be easily accessible and organised such that it is clear what item and what type of test / inspection / maintenance the record refers to. In some cases an Inspection Sheet / Log Book will be attached to the equipment.
It is imperative that where a safety critical device or system has been installed it is checked to ensure it remains serviceable and capable of doing the job it is designed to do. Keeping records of such checks is the only way we can prove that inspections are actually being undertaken.
Table of Guidance: Examples of Safety Critical Devices and Associated Test & Inspect
- Pressure Systems & Cylinders
- Laboratory Equipment
- Laser Safety
- Vehicle Safety
- Inspections & Checklists