Scheme of Examination (SOE) may be viewed as a user manual for your Pressure System / Piped System or cryogenic storage vessel. It defines how it functions, its safe operating limits and, among other things, how often (and how) it needs to be inspected – the HSE refers to this as an ‘examination’.

SOE is a document containing information about selected items of plant or equipment which forms a pressure system, operate under pressure and contain a ‘relevant fluid’. The term relevant fluid is defined in the Regulations and covers compressed or liquefied gas, including air, at a pressure greater than 0.5 bar (approximately 7 psi) above atmospheric pressure; pressurized hot water above 110 °C; and steam at any pressure.

  • The typical contents of a Scheme of Examination include:
  • Identification of the items of plant or equipment within the system;
  • Those parts of the system which are to be examined;
  • The nature of the examination required, including the inspection and testing to be carried out on any protective devices;
  • The preparatory work needed for the item to be examined safely;
  • Where appropriate, the nature of any examination needed before the system is first used;
  • The maximum interval between examinations;
  • The critical parts of the system which, if modified or repaired, should be examined by a competent person before the system is used again;
  • The name of the competent person certifying the written scheme of examination;
  • The date of certification.

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