Every year there are accidents and injuries in the UK from using work equipment, including machinery,
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) sets out legal requirements for the use of work equipment. If you are responsible for work equipment you must ensure that it is safe by:
In addition, you must not use, or permit the use of, unsafe work equipment. You must also ensure that dangerous work equipment is not used by untrained people. The only exception is those undergoing training, who must be supervised by a trained, competent person.
The following examples of hazards associated with using and maintaining work equipment need to be considered as part of your risk assessment.
You need to inspect and maintain work equipment to ensure it is safe to use and any deterioration in its condition is detected and remedied before it becomes dangerous. You should regularly inspect equipment if there is any significant risk to users or others through its installation or use. The result of the inspection should be recorded and a record kept. People who carry out the inspection need to be competent and know what to check and know when the condition has deteriorated. HSAS can provide advice or you can follow our easy to use guides on common equipment found in the office.
There are additional legal requirements for lifting equipment used for work. The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations cover any equipment used at work for lifting or lowering loads and the attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. Examples are passenger lifts, forklift trucks, hoists, mobile elevating work platforms, and vehicle inspection platform hoists. It also includes rope access and positioning systems, such as that used in arboriculture, window cleaning and entertainment. The definition also includes lifting accessories such as chains, slings, eyebolts etc.
The Regulations require that lifting equipment and accessories are:
In addition, lifting operations must be planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner by people who are competent.
The Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group has published a range of guidance documents on: