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work equipment and puwer

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations PUWER

Employers have a legal duty to provide safe workplace equipment, this is laid down in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (HASWA) and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). These two pieces of legislation put a requirement on employers to ensure that work equipment is suitable for its intended use, considering its: purchase; construction; adaptation; operation; and conditions where it would be sited or used. Employers must ensure that work equipment is properly maintained and all persons using, supervising, or managing work equipment are required to be provided with adequate information, and where appropriate, written instructions, training and/or a safe systems of work.

These duties are supported by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations that put a requirement for all work equipment to be assessed for suitability and safety.

PUWER Work Equipment Policy

In order to manage safe use and maintain equipment it is advisable to develop a work equipment policy. If you use the Health and Safety Management System available on the Pilla Document Platform then you will have a policy which outlines exactly how your business will manage work equipment and who within your business will take responsibility for this.

If you are developing your own policy then you should consider then the following topics should be covered with regards to the safe use of work equipment.

  • Suitability and Selection of Work Equipment – protocols to follow to ensure the correct work equipment is provided for the task planned. Work equipment risk assessments are carried out for existing equipment, before equipment is adapted, before new equipment is purchased, or if there are changes to the working environment. When selecting/ purchasing new work equipment it is appropriate for the use intended, CE marked and takes account of ergonomic design so that operators can achieve a comfortable position.
  • Maintenance – All work equipment is entered on the Maintenance Schedule and safety-critical components subjected to planned preventative maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Equipment is provided with the manufacturers or suppliers maintenance manual, which clearly states when equipment should be maintained and what should be done. Where equipment is found to be defective it is isolated from its power source, e.g., fuse removed, and marked ‘Out of Order – Do Not Use’. Maintenance records are kept.
  • Inspections – Where the safety of work equipment depends upon correct installation an inspection by a competent person, who is familiar with the equipment, is undertaken prior to putting the equipment into service for the first time. Making arrangement for inspections if the equipment is relocated or adapted.
  • Information and Instruction – Arrangement for all employees who use work equipment to have been provided with adequate health and safety information and, where appropriate, written instructions giving the correct use of the equipment.
  • Training – the employer must ensure that all employees using work equipment are competent to do so and where necessary have received suitable training for the safe operation of work equipment.
  • Use of equipment – As part of the risk assessment, specified hazards must be assessed to ensure that the risk of injury due to these hazards is prevented.
  • Personal protective equipment – Personal protective equipment is provided as a last resort, where a risk remains that cannot be controlled or eliminated in another way.
  • Controls – All controls must be easy to operate, recognisable, visible, and able to safely start and stop the equipment. Emergency stops are installed where appropriate in appropriate locations around the equipment that enable the equipment to be stopped when an irregular event occurs bringing the equipment to a stop safely under control.
  • Isolation from Sources of Power – All work equipment must be able to be isolated from all of its sources of energy i.e., electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, steam, liquids and gases. The means of isolation must be clearly visible and readily accessible.
  • Stability – All work equipment which may fall over, collapse, or overturn, must be adequately secured in place. This should be achieved by fixing equipment to the floor by bolting, tying, fastening, or clamping.
  • Lighting – Wherever work equipment is used suitable and sufficient lighting must be provided for the operation, maintenance, cleaning, and repair of the equipment.
  • Markings and Warnings – All necessary markings and warning devices identified by the completed risk assessments are provided as necessary for reasons of health and safety. Such signs must meet the design requirements of the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations.

 

In order to manage PUWER effectively employers should communicate the work equipment policy to their workforce and those who have responsibility to manage the protocols like completing risk assessments and managing maintenance of workplace equipment. The process of communication should be documented to evidence providing employees with instruction and information.