PUWER: a short guide to work equipment safety regulations
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, often abbreviated to PUWER, are controlled by the UK HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and enforced by health and safety inspectors. They place duties on companies and individuals who own, operate or have control over work equipment; and on businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment, whether owned by them or not.
What is PUWER?
PUWER is an acronym for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. PUWER came into force on 5th December, 1998. It replaced the original PUWER regulations first introduced in 1992, and allowed the repeal of the 1965 Power Press Regulations.
PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is:
- Suitable for the intended use
- Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and does not subsequently deteriorate
- Only used by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
- Accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls. These will normally include emergency stop devices, adequate means of isolation from sources of energy, clearly visible markings and warning devices
- Only used in accordance with specific requirements in the case of mobile work equipment and power presses
Who does PUWER apply to?
PUWER regulations apply to work activities throughout the whole of Great Britain, as well as offshore installations such as oil rigs and gas supply platforms. The groups covered by PUWER include:
- Self-employed people and the equipment they control or use (whether for profit or not)
- Those who are employed to supervise or manage the use of equipment operated by others
Do you have a PUWER enquiry? We are always on hand to answer your questions on a zero-obligation basis. Get in touch here.
What equipment is covered by PUWER?
“Work equipment” in the context of PUWER applies to any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work (whether exclusively or not), including equipment that employees provide for their own use at work.
Among the types of equipment which PUWER covers are; drilling machines, ladders, power presses, hammers, lifting equipment, lifting trucks, dumper trucks, motor vehicles, photocopiers, and circular saws.
PUWER regulations apply to work equipment found at any workplace in Great Britain and offshore installations, including but not exclusive to; factories, construction sites, farms, hospitals and offices.
When does PUWER not apply?
The regulations do not refer to equipment used by the public, which comes under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. PUWER also does not apply to those who have supplied, sold or hired equipment – in this case it’s up to the purchaser of the equipment to make sure that it is complying with the law – that is; specified, installed and used so that it does not present a risk to those at work.
What are the main requirements of PUWER?
If your business or organisation uses work equipment or is involved in providing work equipment for others to use (e.g. for hire), it is a requirement of PUWER that you manage the risks related to that equipment. This means you must:
- Ensure the equipment is built or adapted to fit the purpose it is used or provided for
- Take account of the working conditions and health and safety risks in the workplace when selecting work equipment
- Ensure work equipment is only used for suitable purposes
- Ensure work equipment is maintained in an efficient state
- Where a machine has a maintenance log, keep this up to date
- Where the safety of work equipment depends on the manner of installation, it must be inspected after installation and before being put into use
- Where work equipment is exposed to deteriorating conditions liable to result in dangerous situations, it must be inspected to ensure faults are detected in good time so the risk to health and safety is managed
- Ensure that all people using, supervising or managing the use of work equipment are provided with adequate, clear health and safety information
- Ensure that all people who use, supervise or manage the use of work equipment have received adequate training
- Ensure that the use of the equipment is restricted to those people trained and appointed to use it
- Take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery
- Take measures to prevent or control the risks to people from parts and substances falling or being ejected from work equipment, or the rupture or disintegration of work equipment
- Ensure that the risks from very hot or cold temperatures from the wrk equipment or the material being processed or used are managed to prevent injury
- Ensure that work equipment is provided with appropriately identified controls for starting, stopping and controlling it, and that these control systems are safe
- Where appropriate, provide suitable means of isolating work equipment from all power sources (including electric, hydraulic, pneumatic and gravitational energy)
- Ensure work equipment is stabilised by clamping or otherwise to avoid injury
- Take appropriate measures to ensure maintenance operations on work equipment can be carried out safely while the equipment is shut down, without exposing people undertaking maintenance operations to risks to their health and safety
When providing new work equipment for use at work, you must ensure it:
- Is either CE or UKCA marked
- Comes with a Declaration of Conformity
- Is provided with instructions in English
- Is free from obvious defects – and that it remains so during its working life
When providing mobile work equipment, you must ensure that:
- Where employees are carried, the equipment is suitable for that purpose
- The risks from rolling over are minimised, and any person being carried is protected in the event of fall or rollover. This should include protection against crushing, through the provision of a suitable restraint and a rollover protection system
- Self-propelled equipment can be controlled safely with braking devices, adequate driver vision and, where necessary, lighting
- Measures are taken to prevent any risks from drive shafts that power accessories attached to mobile work equipment, by using adequate guards
- When providing power presses for working on cold metal, you must thoroughly examine them and their safeguards before first putting them into use, and periodically afterwards. This means you must ensure that the inspection and testing of guards and protection devices is carried out by a competent person at frequent intervals, and that records of these examinations, inspections and tests are kept.
IES can guide you through the entire PUWER process; from advice and consultancy to on-site testing and assessment. Call us today on +44 (0)117 456 2188
How does PUWER affect training?
PUWER requires employers to ensure that their work equipment is used exclusively by individuals who have received the necessary training to carry out the work safely. What is accepted as adequate training will vary according to an employee’s current competence level, and the complexity of the work equipment itself.
Staff without the qualifications necessary to operate a piece of equipment must be given the relevant training by an employer before they can use the equipment unsupervised. The competence of new employees should be assessed to ensure that they only operate equipment which they are qualified to use.
PUWER Regulations 1998
You can read the most updated copy of the PUWER regulations on the HSE website.
What is a PUWER risk assessment?
To comply with the PUWER checklist, every new piece of equipment has to undergo a PUWER inspection. A PUWER risk assessment typically involves:
- Identifying and reporting any hazards
- Assessing risks by calculating the chance of harm being done
- Identifying ways to eliminate those risks where possible
- When a complete elimination of a risk is not possible, listing ways to reduce it and specifying precautions which need to be taken
How often should PUWER assessments be carried out?
A PUWER assessment should be performed each time a piece of equipment is installed. Reassessments are necessary if any modifications or changes are made, or if that equipment will be used differently. Reassessment is also required if there has been an accident.
How can IES help with PUWER?
IES can guide you through the PUWER process, offering a range of options; from advice and consultancy services to the complete on-site testing and assessment of your equipment. We provide you with a full written report that details any potential problems we’ve identified, and, if required, we can organise remedial work necessary to ensure compliance.
Examples of the work we’ve undertaken in this area include production machinery, test rigs, control panels, electrical cabinets, x-ray scanners, lighting controls and industrial ovens, the installation of new machinery, and the refurbishment of machinery.
Download Now: When Do I Need PUWER?
We’ve put together a quick-fire guide which provides you with many of the ‘need to knows’ on PUWER procedure in an easy, digestible format.
A Consultative Approach: Call Us for Advice
To discover how we can meet your specific PUWER requirements, call us on +44 (0)117 456 2188 or use our contact form.