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What measures do businesses need to take to reinstate plant, equipment and processes?

Below we have provided guidance to businesses on reducing risks when you are planning on reinstatement process plant and equipment following a temporary closure. We have focussed the below guidance on general principles that can be applied to the majority of situations and installations. If you require more specific advice and guidance, please contact us on 0330 024 0606 or fill out our contact form.

Plant machinery

When reinstating a process plant and equipment, it is important to start with a detailed plan so the risks to your business can be greatly reduced.

What should be included in the plan will differ for each business, however you may need to consider the following:


The scope of reinstatement works and the reinstatement plan

It can be useful to first of all define the scope of the reinstatement works, considering:

  • What are you planning to reinstate?
    • An item of plant or equipment?
    • A process?
  • The nature of the reinstatement?
    • Continuously operated?
    • Intermittently operated?
  • Are any changes required from how it was previously operated?
    • Any changes to production requirements/outputs?
    • Any changes to plant configuration?
    • Any new or changed installations?
    • Any required changes to working practices and/or procedures?
    • Any changes to maintenance requirements?
    • Any changes to the hours of operation?
    • Any changes to relevant permits to operate?
  • Are any new or changed resources required?
    • Changes to raw materials and/or suppliers?
    • Changed staffing requirements?
    • Changes to tooling?
    • Any new facilities needed to accommodate a change in working practices, e.g. hand washing stations, additional changing/welfare facilities etc.
    • Changes to levels of consumables you need to stock, e.g. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or spares for machinery


Notifying stakeholders

It is also important to consider who needs to know about the reinstatement work and how they will be notified. This can include:

  • Employees who are needed to work and support the facility or plant/process
  • Customers
    • Expectations need to be managed in terms of when they can expect to receive goods and services
  • Supply chain businesses
    • Make sure that your supply chain is still operational and able to supply in the required quantities at the required timescales
    • Make enquiries regarding the longevity of any stockpiled supplies and make arrangements for replenishments where required
  • Insurers and insurance brokers
    • Check that policy coverage remains in effect and review any existing policy conditions and endorsements
  • Regulatory bodies
    • Make sure any existing permits to operate are still in place and there are no changes or extra regulatory requirements are needed
  • Contractors
    • Check that any contractors you use for servicing or maintenance are still operating and able to provide the services you require
  • Neighbours/shared premises
    • Neighbours or other businesses sharing your premises may have also changed their work practices and arrangements so check with them and make sure that any risks to each other’s businesses and employees are managed and controlled.


Reinstatement works risk assessment

When you are reinstating an item of plant/equipment or a process line, it’s advisable to prepare a risk assessment and an action plan for each individual items. This should detail the steps and order in which they should be carried out.

What is required to reinstate items of plant/equipment safely will depend on each item, however the following list of considerations will apply to most reinstatements:

  • Check any recommendations from the manufacturer/installer and the requirements to maintain warranties and avoid installer penalty clauses
  • Make sure that any software, programming or data input needed to operate the equipment safely has been uploaded and is the most up to date version
  • Carry out a full inspection, testing and replacement process of any components that were removed during the shutdown
  • Refill any tanks and reservoirs as well as any priming or purging lines that are necessary for the safe operation of the equipment
  • Carry out a visual inspection to confirm that no contamination, corrosion or blockages have occurred during the period of shutdown
  • Safely remove any isolations or lock outs of power or process lines/feeds
  • Check the integrity and condition of any machinery guarding
  • Test any alarms or safety features/emergency stops provided on the equipment
  • Make sure that any automatic fire detection systems or fixed fire protection systems are still active and operational
  • Confirm that all necessary maintenance and inspections are up to date and haven’t lapsed during shutdown
  • Check that any battery backup power supplies to equipment are able to be fully recharged or if they need replacing
  • Check the condition and integrity of any pits, making sure there is no debris or other unwanted contents
  • Check the condition and integrity of any access equipment used to access the plant and process lines
  • Check that the areas around all plant/equipment and installations are clear and free from debris or other materials that have accumulated during the period of shutdown


Download our free risk assessment

To help businesses with this process of reopening following a COVID-19 shutdown, we have put together two risk assessment documents. There is a ‘generic’ risk assessment document detailing an actionable plan for dealing with the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, as well as a more specific Business Recovery and Re-opening Risk Assessment.

Download the risk assessment documents here: