In some situations, renting a piece of equipment is a more viable option than buying it. Renting is a straightforward and easy way for a company to get what it needs.

However, renting can turn into a hassle due to unexpected equipment malfunction. That’s why you MUST inspect the equipment before accepting it and before each use, exactly the same as you would if you owned it.

Even though your company is a renter, YOU are legally accountable for any safety issues.

Here are some recommendations:

Check for obvious issues.

If you don’t perform a full inspection when you rent a mahcine—and before each subsequent use—missing or broken parts may cause safety hazards and delays, and your company would be held legally liable (by OSHA in the U.S. or by the applicable authority in other countries, such as the Ontario Ministry of Labour in Canada).

Avoid disputes with the rental company.

When you rent equipment, you agree that you’re responsible for any damage to it that occurs while you’re using it. If you don’t inspect it for existing problems before you accept it, you could end up paying for issues that were already there.

Ensure that necessary maintenance is performed.

When renting equipment that requires periodic maintenance, you should check whether it has been done recently. For example, if a machine needs a fluid changed after running for a few days, you need to know if the rental company did it.

Keep inspecting.

Always add rented equipment to your regular inspection routine, even if you’re just keeping it for a few days. In addition to fulfilling regulatory requirements, adding rental equipment to your inspection routine will help you ensure it is safe for your personnel to use, even when they’re working with equipment they’re not used to, which is often the case with rental equipment.


All these steps will ensure adherence to safety regulations and keep your operations running smoothly, with as few interruptions and hazards as possible. When rental equipment is not inspected, you’re in violation—putting your personnel at risk and exposing your company to significant avoidable costs.

Tags: safety management, OSHA, legal compliance, inspection management, equipment safety


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