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Following the announcements of the easing of restrictions, Allianz will continue to work closely with the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed), and our customers, to ensure that the provision of our services is aligned to the safety, security and resilience of the national critical infrastructure services and industries. As the restrictions continue to ease, we will regularly review the guidelines that we provide to our customers and our Engineer Surveyors in order that we can work in partnership with our customers to safely transition out of the environment where restrictions have been in place since the Covid-19 outbreak began.

Thank you for your support.

On 15 January the Supreme Court handed down its judgement on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) test case on how to deal with certain non-damage business interruption claims resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re in the process of understanding what impact, if any, the judgement will have for our customers’ claims.

If you would like to submit a new business interruption claim relating to Covid-19, you can do so online using the following link:

Throughout the pandemic, Allianz has continued to provide a high quality inspection service, fully accredited to both ISO45001 by Lloyds Register and ISO17020 by UKAS, for which we have received re-accreditation in 2020. We have an extensive knowledge of health and safety and being presented with new risks is not unusual. We support our engineer surveyors in assessing risk by providing relevant information, guidance, risk assessments and PPE and by planning a structured approach to the inspection process. This enables them to continue to work safely, while carrying out their duties on site and following Government guidance.

Supporting our engineers to work safely

It’s most important to keep all equipment and plant examined and within date. We ask brokers and their clients to work with us, co-operate and facilitate the requirements of our engineer surveyors carrying out essential work at this very difficult time. Our engineer surveyors will do everything reasonably practicable to abide by enhanced safe systems of work whilst on client sites and we request that you respect the guidance which they have been instructed to follow:

1. Remove the risk where possible for all / the individual:

- Restricted access to private homes, patient rooms or identified COVID-19 high risk clinical areas. Those with symptoms or who have been in close contact with persons showing symptoms to isolate for 10 days and/or be tested before returning to work. 

2. Control the risk to acceptable standards for all / the individual:

- social distancing based on risk management
- regular hand washing or sanitising
- enhanced cleaning of equipment and clean work wear
- safe area to conduct examination.

3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

- wear PPE to protect the individual or others when all other options have been utilised and to deal with residual risk.

Everyone at Allianz is committed to providing our normal high standards of service and reducing any disruption to our clients operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We've created a useful guide to summarise the HSE guidance and explain how Allianz engineer surveyors are working safely. 

For further important information and guidance for specific industries please refer to the following government guidance.

Due to the nature of the role of our Engineer Surveyors, they service a wide customer base which inevitably results in them having to visit multiple locations every day. We have received requests for proof of a negative Covid-19 tests either prior to, or on arrival at sites and this has been achieved by utilisation of Lateral Flow testing; testing requirements should be discussed with our Engineer Surveyors during the appointment making process. Our approach has been to introduce Covid-19 Operational guidance to all Engineer Surveyors with specific focus on hygiene measures and disciplined adherence to risk based social distancing which aim to minimise the risk of cross contamination between locations visited each day and in turn virus transmission.  We are mindful that both the availability of testing and advances in testing technology is changing rapidly and in line with this our approach to testing is under constant review.

Our PNA process is now fully operational again and we will issue a PNA report as normal if plant is not available or cannot be found with automatic  reminder letters being issued to customers at monthly intervals.

The vast majority of returning PNA customers have had a successful re-visit within 10 days.

Our standing instruction to all of our Engineer Surveyors however, is that if they feel that they aren’t able to complete an examination safely – for any reason – not just a COVID related risk, then they must immediately speak with the site contact and highlight their concerns to them. If the site contact cannot immediately address the issue, then they must leave site and issue an appropriately worded PNA.

In line with the relaxation of restrictions, we are recommencing visits to the Channel Islands and will continue to monitor very closely any guidance provided by the island authorities.

The HSE’s latest guidance document is attached. This provides for some circumstances where it may be possible for a customer to continue using plant beyond its due date for examination. To do so they must work in conjunction with support from a competent person to assess the critical nature of the plant (associated with government response to COVID 19) and take a documented risk based approach, with additional control measures where appropriate to support ongoing use.

We strongly recommend reading the HSE document available on their website  in full.

Where we are advised that there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the work area, a deep clean will be required prior to our inspection visit.

We would require written confirmation (email will suffice) that there is no suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 associated with the area of the complex in which we are going to work. This is to be re-confirmed verbally upon entering site, before entry into the work area. If there is then we do not access that specific work area.

Confirmation should be obtained of the availability of COVID-19 free welfare facilities which can be used by the Engineer Surveyor, at their discretion.

At appointment stage, the limits of our examination and our specified requirements should be made clear to the client, in that:

  • Equipment in individual rooms may be examined on the strict condition that the room is vacated, ventilated, that the room and equipment contained within are suitably cleaned, disinfected and kept sterile (unused) prior to our examination.
  • Equipment in communal bathrooms may be examined on the strict condition that the room is ventilated and equipment contained within are suitably cleaned, disinfected and kept sterile (unused) prior to our examination.
  • Portable equipment including hoists, attachments and slings should be brought to a safe clean location and presented in a clean / laundered condition for examination.

All cleaning of equipment and work area prior to our examination and subsequent to it remains the responsibility of the client.

Private Dwellings/Single occupancy

Inspection in private dwellings requires the involvement of the client in certain key aspects in order to ensure the welfare of both the resident and the Engineer Surveyor. Prior to making any appointments or undertaking any inspections in these situations we must discuss our requirements with the client.

What we require the client to do:

  1. Vulnerability of resident(s) The Client should ascertain if any resident is deemed a vulnerable person and if they require additional presence and assistance on site to facilitate inspection.
  2. A resident may be deemed vulnerable for various reasons. In some circumstances this may be due to the specific needs or requirements of the individual, in which case the Client should ensure the appropriate assistance is provided on site.
  3. In others it may be that an individual is vulnerable to the risks of Covid 19 and currently shielding, in which case the visit cannot be undertaken and a Plant not available report should be issued.
  4. Client should advise the resident(s) or responsible contact of our requirements and confirm that they can adhere to them.  To the best of client’s knowledge they should confirm that location is Covid-19 free.
  5. Correct and appropriate responsible person contact details to be provided for each location, taking into account the vulnerability of the resident and any assistance that may be required.
  6. Resident or responsible contact needs to be aware of the requirement for safe social distancing to be maintained (2 metres) within the property during our visit.
  7.  The room in which the equipment is to be examined should be vacated and ventilated and the equipment suitably cleaned, disinfected and kept sterile prior to the examination.
  8. The client and resident should be made aware that this may not be the ES only visit of this type for the day.
  9. Face coverings should be worn by all parties where possible. In respect of blocks of flats we will examine where sufficient isolation can be achieved between engineer surveyor and residents on all floors and work areas.
  10. Other considerations
  11. Any household that is currently self-isolating or shielding - visit cannot be completed and a Plant Not Available report should be issued.
     
  12. If the equipment is in situ over a bed and the resident cannot be removed from the situation then the inspection cannot be completed and a plant not available report should be issued.
     
  13. If it is determined that social distancing from all residents cannot be achieved throughout the visit a Plant not available report should be issued.
     
  14. Should the Engineer Surveyor determine that as a result of the outcome of their dynamic risk assessment, they are not able to safely complete the visit then they have the right to decline the completion of the work and should issue a Plant Not Available report.

In respect of blocks of flats potentially housing vulnerable people or key workers, we will examine equipment in common areas where sufficient isolation can be achieved between engineer surveyor and residents on all floors and work areas.

The lifts/equipment must be suitably cleaned prior to and after our attendance to prevent cross contamination. Where we are allowed to examine, we will examine, but only under strict safe systems of work and where safe isolation between residents and Engineer Surveyor can be achieved. In order to achieve this, we must be assured by the customer that we will be provided with the necessary help and escort to ensure we remain sufficiently isolated from residents before we agree to attend.

Should the Engineer Surveyor determine that as a result of the outcome of their dynamic risk assessment, they are not able to safely complete the visit then they have the right to decline the completion of the work and should issue a Plant not available report.

The following guidance relates to the additional measures to be adopted by Allianz Engineer Surveyors to facilitate examination of BMUs.

If the items can be examined by maintaining safe social distancing in line with local requirements, then a dynamic risk assessment can be applied to facilitate safe examination.

Where local social distancing requirements cannot be maintained the preferred option would be to ascertain whether the item can be safely examined by the Allianz engineer surveyor as a single operator within the cradle.  Information is to be provided by the duty holder/maintainer. This must also include whether safe rescue can also be carried out for one operator within the cradle.

Once it has been confirmed, preferably in writing that this can be achieved a dynamic risk assessment can be applied to facilitate safe examination. 

The engineer surveyor retains the right to walk away from the Thorough Examination and issue a Plant Not Available report at any time from the planning stage to being on site, where they are not satisfied that suitable and satisfactory control measures can be put in place.

In these cases, a dynamic risk assessment which takes into account the environment, the means of examination and the application of suitable mitigating measures of personal protective equipment needs to be undertaken.

The following guidance relates to the additional measures to be adopted by Allianz Engineer Surveyors to facilitate examination of MEWPs.  

If the items can be examined by maintaining minimum local social distancing, then a dynamic risk assessment can be applied to facilitate safe examination.

Where an Engineer Surveyor is trained and has a current IPAF licence there are no issues, and may continue to use MEWPs on their own in the usual manner.

Where either a new or existing Engineer Surveyor has no valid IPAF licence, in the first instance any work should be re-assigned to a licenced Engineer Surveyor.  Thereafter, training needs to be provided.

Where the client is required to provide the assistance of a MEWP operator, this should be undertaken on a machine which can facilitate minimum local socail distancing.

The way the reduced rate works is that it applies to sales made by the businesses in those sectors, not sales of taxable inspection services made to them. Allianz Engineering’s inspection services are still 20% standard rate, but as usual, business customers that are VAT registered can reclaim the VAT they are charged by AEIS back from HMRC. 

The HSE guidance on conducting Examination during COVID-19 now includes advice on all classes of plant where examination may be required including what to do if an examination cannot be completed within the required time frame.

The legal obligation to ensure plant and equipment is maintained and thoroughly examined in accordance with relevant regulations remains in place and there have been no exceptions to work place safety regulations granted. The HSE recognise that examination by a competent person is essential to the continued safety of persons. The enforcing authority expect duty holders (those who have control of the equipment) to make all reasonable effort to ensure examinations are completed at the correct time. The duty holder is expected to work with and co-operate with their inspection body by providing safe working arrangements which satisfy both parties’ needs, for example safe and suitable access and emergency procedures. 

Advice on safe systems of working during the COVID-19 pandemic for a number of industries can be found on GOV.UK.

The HSE recognise there may be circumstances where some duty holders will find it difficult or impossible to conduct the required examination due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and have included guidance within their document advising what the duty holders should do in those circumstances.

The primary and overriding statutory obligation is that the equipment must remain safe. The advice is to remove the item from service until the necessary examination can be safely conducted. If removing the equipment from use is not feasible then additional measures should be identified to minimise any potential risk from continued use. This may be achieved by applying a robust risk based approach to the decision making.

The HSE have clarified that conducting examination prior to re-opening would not be considered normal business activity in respect of using furloughed staff.

If duty holders conclude that the equipment can be used outside of its testing period, they must document:

  • the efforts that have been made to get the plant examined
  • their decision making process
  • the factors considered to justify their decision.

The exact scope of the risk assessment will depend on the circumstances and the HSE have provided guidance on what as a minimum should be considered within the risk assessment.

More information can be found in the latest HSE guidance document and our useful guide

We are operating in a “business as usual” way in that we will consider new business quotations against our current capacity levels however our appetite may be more limited than in a pre-COVID world as we must continue to balance this with the needs of our existing customers and our Engineer Surveyor safety.
Engineer Surveyors who have been self-isolating will only return to active service if; (a) they have completed their isolation in line with government guidelines (b) they believe they are fully fit; and (c) following a formal discussion with their Area Manager, whereby all parties are satisfied that the Engineer Surveyor is fully fit to reconvene their role to complete Inspection examinations.

In the past few months, the majority of business premises have been open and we have been able to undertake our examinations largely as ‘normal’, subject to risk assessment and safety protocols for our Engineer Surveyors.

During this time, the main message from the UK Government coming from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is that they are trying to ensure that non-essential businesses which are required to be closed, continue to ensure that their statutory obligations are met in preparedness for reopening, i.e. not delaying or postponing examinations as far as reasonably possible and they are requiring that furloughed staff open the doors for Engineer Surveyors to conduct their work.

Customers can access this via our eService portal. There are self-help videos and advices on using the portal here and access to register or login to use the service.
If equipment is out of use and there is no danger to persons, then it is not necessary to complete an examination. The examination must take place before the item is brought back in to use if its due date has passed. If the item is brought back in to use prior to its due date, it does not need to be examined until its due date, but there should be suitable pre use maintenance and checks to ensure the item is working correctly and as intended by the manufacturer.
It does not affect our stance. If the customer has confirmed an appointment and our engineer surveyor arrives at site only to be turned away then this will be deemed a wasted visit and a charge will be made at the time the customer calls us back to re attend site. If, at the time of arranging an appointment, the customer confirms that the plant is not available then our engineer will not have had a wasted visit and no re attendance fee will be charged.

Yes - we will not be suspending cover provided by this policy but would use this opportunity to remind you and your customers of our Reasonable Precautions Condition which states that it is a condition precedent to the liability of the Insurers that:

a. the Insured shall take all reasonable precautions to safeguard the Insured Property against loss or damage and

b. the Insured shall maintain the Insured Property in an efficient condition and take all reasonable steps to ensure that all Government and other regulations relating to the operation and use of the Insured Property are observed.

In relation to (b), during the current period of lockdown it is appreciated that the ability to maintain may be compromised by the personnel involved in providing such services being deemed ‘non-essential’  Consequently, if it then becomes impossible to sustain the current /agreed levels of maintenance in line with manufacturers (requirements if under warranty) recommendations, then, provided that all other reasonable and feasible measures (including taking any action necessary to correct any faults that may be identified by any condition monitoring equipment) are taken to safeguard the plant and machinery, the Insured will not be penalised by this policy condition.
For further information for our customers, brokers  and third parties, plus general information on Allianz’s approach to managing the impact of COVID-19.