When inspections occur, it’s all hands on deck. Nevertheless, you don’t want to find yourself scrambling to explain problem areas in a bid to avoid penalties. For this reason, it’s imperative to be prepared for inspections, whether you know they’re coming or not.
This can be challenging for everyone - technicians that manage daily concerns, mechanics in charge of ongoing maintenance, and the engineers and project managers tasked with preventative planning and supporting equipment life cycles. How can everyone on the team work to maintain compliance, keep equipment performing at its peak, and prepare for inspector visits?
It starts with understanding what inspectors are looking for, and what they’re likely to penalize you for when it comes to health and safety standards. Here are a few areas you should focus on when it comes to your own regular inspection and maintenance in preparation for inspections.
General HVAC Maintenance
Your HVAC system is designed to funnel heated or cooled air into interior spaces, as well as filter out particulates to create breathable air. It takes a lot of parts to complete this cycle, and you need to keep them clean and well-maintained if you want to provide a safe, healthy and comfortable work environment, as well as pass inspection.
When it comes to your internal inspection and maintenance, this means scheduling regular professional HVAC service, and staying on top of potential problem areas between visits. Your checklist to remain prepared for inspection could include regularly checking:
- Thermostat calibration (to ensure that your system maintains set temperatures).
- Filters (for cleanliness).
- Belts (for wear).
- Coils (to ensure they’re clean and free of debris).
- Shut-Off Switches (to ensure proper function).
- Wiring (to ensure secure connections throughout).
- Ducting (for buildup of dust or presence of mold or pests).
This isn’t comprehensive, but your HVAC professionals will obviously do a more thorough job during their visits. You just need to keep track of the basics in the meantime, as a way to stay prepared for inspection.
High-pressure boilers may be part of the equipment needed for your business. If so, you’ll have to make sure they’re clean and in good working order, not only for the sake of performance and safety, but to appease inspectors. Between visits from your licensed boiler contractor, you’ll want to keep an eye on water quality and stay on top of water treatment to avoid the buildup of scale (as well as the damage it could do to the metal of your boiler).
If you have a newer model, you may have advanced monitoring technologies that help you to keep tabs on performance and spot potential problems early. Either way, you’ll need to pay attention to gauges, test failsafes regularly and watch closely for wear throughout the life cycle of your equipment.
In preparation for inspection, you may be required to drain and cool your boilers. You may also need to close, tag and padlock steam stop valves and blow-off valves; disconnect blow-off lines; open drains, drain valves and vent lines; and expose access points (and that may not be all). In order to ensure that everything is ready when the inspector arrives, request a preparation checklist prior to inspection.
Air Compressor Audit
When it comes to air compressors, inspectors are typically looking for safe, secure operation and optimal performance. This means securing this equipment against unauthorized access, keeping the area clear of combustible and other hazardous materials, ensuring all required safety measures (like guards around moving parts) and generally keeping tabs on gauges. Make sure to check gauges for leaks (air, water, oil) and be sure equipment is in good working condition. Regular professional service is also expected, and you should maintain service and inspection records for inspectors to review.
Inspections can be scary, but proper preparation means you’ll have nothing to worry about. If you need help with maintenance, contact the professionals at Tate Engineering. Our staff is here and ready to help.