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
In respect of inflatables they should now be tested to BS EN 14960:2013 which is a European Standard which covers the design, manufacture, operation and testing requirements for inflatables that are bounced or slid on by persons up to the age of 14.
However, it should be noted that this standard can be used to determine the safety of all inflatable play equipment and has successfully 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.
Competent Examiner: The law requires that tests are carried out by a ‘competent person’. It is up to the operator of the equipment to ensure that he/she employs a competent person to carry out the annual test. In the event of an incident the Health and Safety Executive will look closely at 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 carry out a PAT test as part of the annual test.
Operators are quite entitled to have any one they believe to be ‘competent’ to carry out their annual inspection but in the event of an incident then if your chosen examiner is not PIPA or ADIPS registered an assessment will be carried out on them.
There are two things Operators should be aware of.
1) The assessment incurs costs and these costs will be passed on to you
2) Should your examiner not pass the assessment then the certificates issued will be declared void and you could find you have no insurance cover.
If you decide not to use either an PIPA or ADIPS inspector then it is up to you to ensure that you can prove your chosen inspectors competence. It will not be sufficient to just say that your chosen inspector has x amount of years experience.
In respect of inflatable HSE recognises the PIPA scheme as best practice. This means that any operator of inflatable play equipment who uses the PIPA scheme for annual inspections will be deemed by HSE to have followed best practice.
You should note that the PIPA scheme only uses RPII registered inspectors and the test carried out by these inspectors is exactly the same whether you use PIPA or not. The additional benefits of the PIPA scheme is explained on their web site.
If you require any further clarification on the inspection of inflatables then please contact the office.