Mechanical inspections

Mechanical inspections -alasivu

Under the Finnish Occupational Safety and Health Act, inspections of dangerous machinery, work equipment or other devices can only be carried out by expert bodies or other independent specialists. The Finnish Government Decree on the Safe Use and Inspection of Work Equipment includes an annex that lists the types of dangerous machinery that can only be inspected by certified organisations or individuals with special qualifications and that require initial, periodic or thorough periodic inspections.

‘Initial inspection’ refers to an inspection carried out when a piece of work equipment is commissioned for the first time, whenever modifications are introduced that could have major safety implications or whenever equipment is moved to a new location. An inspection must also be carried out when a piece of equipment is used again for the first time after a long period of inactivity.

The objective of an initial inspection is to ensure that the equipment has been properly assembled and that all the controls and safety devices work as intended. In the case of lifting machinery, a load test can also be carried out to verify the machinery’s structural strength and stability.

Periodic inspections are usually carried out at one-year intervals after the initial inspection. The interval between inspections can also be shorter or longer depending on how and for what the machinery is used. Periodic inspections are designed to ensure that the machinery works as intended and especially that no risk is posed by wear, material fatigue, corrosion or other damage.

Thorough periodic inspections are required if the machinery is being operated close to the design limits specified by the manufacturer or, if these are not known, when 10 years have passed since the machinery was first commissioned. A thorough periodic inspection involves dismantling components that cannot otherwise be inspected. In the case of lifting machinery, examples of such components include boom covers and pivot pins. Non-destructive inspection methods must be used.

The types of machinery listed in the Government Decree on the Safe Use and Inspection of Work Equipment cannot be used if it they have not been properly inspected.

The inspectors record their findings in their notes. The notes show, for example, any faults that can compromise safety and instructions for fixing and eliminating the faults. The inspectors’ notes must be kept for as long as the machinery is in use. Notes from the latest inspection must be kept at the workplace.

An English version of the Government Decree on the Safe Use and Inspection of Work Equipment (403/2008) is available online, including the annex listing the required inspections by machinery groups. The English translation may not include the latest legislative changes, please see Finlex Data Bank for details.