All hire equipment requires an annual test in order to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). This is a legal requirement.
In order to comply with the law it is the operators responsibility to have their equipment tested by a Competent Person
Competent Person: The law requires that tests are carried out by a ‘competent person’. The operator of the equipment is responsibile to ensure that they employ a competent person to carry out the annual test. In the event of an incident the Health and Safety Executive will investigate who inspected the equipment. The HSE have stated that those operators who use either a PIPA registered inspector or registered ADIPS inspector will have been deemed to have engaged a competent person in respect of inflatables. PIPA examiners will also carry out a PAT test as part of the annual test.
Operators are entitled to have anyone that they believe to be ‘competent’ to carry out their annual inspection but in the event of an incident if the chosen examiner is not PIPA or ADIPS registered an assessment will need be carried out on them.
Operators should be aware of the following 2 things:
1) The incurred costs of the assessment will be passed on to you.
2) Any certificates issued by an examiner that does not pass the assessment shall be declared void and could result in you having no insurance cover.
If the operator decides to not use either a PIPA or ADIPS inspector then it is up to them to make sure that they can prove the chosen inspectors competence. It is not acceptable to just state that the chosen inspector has so many years experience.
The HSE recognises the PIPA scheme as best practice in the respect of inflatables. Any operator who uses the PIPA scheme for annual inspections of inflatable play equipment will be deemed by HSE to have followed best practice.
Information and the benefits of using the PIPA scheme can be found at www.pipa.org.uk
The PIPA scheme only uses RPII registered inspectors but the test carried out is exactly the same whether you use PIPA or not but with the additional benefits of the PIPA scheme as explained above.
Inflatables should be tested to BS EN 14960:2013 which is a European Standard.
It should be noted that this standard can be used to determine the safety of all inflatable play equipment and has successfully been used in prosecutions for other inflatable equipment. In basic terms the standard contains specific information that is appropriate for all inflatables outside of the specifics stated.
It should also be noted that all electrical equipment should be PAT tested (Portable Appliance Test) and this includes, fans, cables and extension leads.