ESPE protection service launched by Safety Systems Technology22 March 2011

Machines equipped with electro-sensitive protective equipment (ESPE), such light curtains, require more than PUWER inspections if operators are to meet their legal machinery safety obligations.

That's the warning from Gary Trewhitt of engineering and electrical safety specialist Safety Systems Technology, which is focusing on the modern equivalent to traditional machine guarding.

Trewhitt points to HSE publication HSG180 'Application of electro-sensitive equipment using light curtains and light beam devices to machinery', paragraph 118, which provides voluntary, but essential, guidance.

Paragraph 124 explains that the recommended maximum interval between periodic inspection and test is six months for type 4 ESPE and 12 months for type 2 ESPE, and that this interval depends on the equipment it is fitted to and the risk as a whole.

"It is these cases that create a potential pitfall for employers who are not fully aware of the requirements relating to ESPE, as it is now easy to see that simply carrying out regularly scheduled PUWER assessments is not enough – the ESPE will require additional inspection and testing," asserts Trewhitt.

Since many companies have neither the in-house expertise nor the capacity to deal with additional ESPE inspections, Safety Systems Technology has introduced a standalone ESPE periodic inspection and test service, which Trewhitt says can be tailored to suit the requirements of individual plant sites.

Brian Tinham

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