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Safe equipment

Safe equipment

Your legal responsibility

You must ensure equipment provided at work is safe for use.

This applies to equipment used in any workplace, such as in factories, offshore installations, offices, shops, hospitals, hotels and places of entertainment.

They don't apply to equipment used by the public.

What law applies?

  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999

(These are known as the PUWER regulations.)

Equipment covered by the regulations

Generally, PUWER covers any equipment at work that an employee may use, repair, modify, maintain, clean or transport. These can include hammers, knives, ladders, drilling machines, power presses, circular saws, photocopiers, lifting equipment (including lifts), dumper trucks, motor vehicles, and any equipment that belongs to the employees that they're allowed to bring.

What you need to do

You must ensure that the work equipment you provide is:

  • Suitable for its intended use
  • Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and, in certain circumstances, inspected regularly
  • Used only by people who have been properly trained and instructed
  • Accompanied by suitable safety measures, e.g. protective devices, markings, warnings

You should also ensure that you remove or control risks caused by equipment. To do so you can implement appropriate measures such as:

  • Providing suitable guards
  • Protection devices
  • Markings and warning devices
  • System control devices (such as emergency stop buttons)
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Following safe practical systems of work

Mobile work equipment

PUWER contains specific responsibilities for mobile work equipment such as forklift trucks and dumper trucks. If mobile work equipment is used for carrying people, you must make sure it's suitable for this purpose. You must reduce the risks involved to protect the people being carried, the operator and anyone else.

Power presses

You should examine power presses, and their associated guards or protection devices, regularly. You should also inspect them daily when used to ensure that it's safe. Only a competent person should examine them. That competent person should keep records of inspections.

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