Inspection Pits

Inspection pits are generally custom-made. Every client needs a different depth or length according to their unique specifications. An installation team will typically dig the trench, after which the prefabricated areas are welded. The process takes more or less a week to complete. No legal requirements are in place for installing and utilizing an inspection pit. However, the responsibility falls on the car maintenance and repair agency to perform a risk assessment for the hole and include safeguards to avoid any of the following:
  • Anyone falling into the inspection pit.
  • Someone slipping on access steps.
  • Injuries sustained due to a car or other items falling onto an employee inside the pit.
  • Asphyxiation or fire from accumulating vapors, gases, or fuel release.
  • Head injuries from bumping against the car that is over the pit.
When it comes to ensuring the safety and reliability of a vehicle, a thorough pre-purchase inspection is crucial. It's not just about checking the aesthetics but also the mechanical and safety aspects of the car. Consider visiting the SAB Safety Certificates Official Site for a comprehensive and professional service. Their team of experts can provide a detailed inspection, giving you peace of mind before purchasing.

Regarding inspection pits and safety, encouraging safety through accreditation schemes and best practices and incorporating health and safety executive guidelines is effective. Some pit installers recommend doing the following:
  • Painting chevrons around the pit on the floor and painting designated walkways at a safe distance from the hole.
  • Installing a full-length retractable cover that easily slides over the inspection pit when unused. Since they are robust enough to support a person's weight, they successfully discard a falling risk. However, they are only sometimes the best practical choice.
  • Instead of going under the car, instead, raise the vehicle up. Floor-mounted columns can be installed to gain access under the car, especially with restricted access. They are also safer than pits because petrol has a higher flash point.

Inspection pits' light must be water, dust resistant, and flameproof to avoid ignition.

Best practice advice

HSE provides guidance to workshop owners that involve the responsibilities of workshops that must be met with inspection pits.
  • Limiting Access – restrict access to individuals that must be there. Try to physically separate and change the workshop layout or utilize supervision and signs to impose the rules.
  • Bridging The Pit – A movable bridge can be installed across the pit with an open-sided handrail to allow a safe platform for working.
  • Barriers – Using chains, rails, or extendible fences to offer flexible protection for staff members close to the pit edge.
  • Enhancing Visibility – Using pit lights during working hours and visibly marking pit edges, for instance, painting yellow and black bands.
  • Lowering Trip And Slip Incidents – Use anti-slip material surrounding the pit. Keeping the area free from clutter and addressing spillages immediately.
  • Access – Providing at least a singular fixed exit/entry point with extra, dispersed, usable means to escape when required.
  • Prevention Of Asphyxiation And Fire - Vapours and fuel heavier than air are inclined to sink to the bottom of the inspection pit and can pose an asphyxiation or fire hazard. Therefore, avoid hot work near or on any fuel line or tank, including diesel systems. Ensure portable LPG-fuelled equipment is stored safely in your pit, and empty the refrigerant before working on air conditioners. Welding should only be done in holes with efficient exhaust ventilation. Never leave cars idling over the pit.
  • Falling Objects – A helpful guide highlights pit edges (about 150mm wide) for positioning cars or installing mirrors. Drivers must use a bank's man whenever possible. All replaced or discarded vehicle parts must be removed. Never leave tools or other equipment around the pit apron.