PUWER – Keeping you safe
PUWER stands for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The regulations deal with the work equipment and machinery used every day in workplaces and aims to keep people safe wherever equipment and machinery is used at work. PUWER place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment. It also places responsibilities on businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment, whether owned by them or not.
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
used only 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
used in accordance with specific requirements, for mobile work equipment and power presses
Some work equipment is subject to other health and safety legislation in addition to PUWER. For example, lifting equipment must also meet the requirements of LOLER, pressure equipment must meet the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations and personal protective equipment must meet the PPE Regulations PDF.
Work equipment is any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work (whether exclusively or not). This includes equipment which employees provide for their own use at work. The scope of work equipment is therefore extremely wide. The use of work equipment is also very widely interpreted and '...means any activity involving work equipment and includes starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning'.
You have a legal obligation to protect yourself and your workers when using machinery or equipment, which should be done by carrying out a risk assessment involving:
identifying hazards and recording anything that may cause harm
assessing risks by considering the likelihood of any harm occurring
eliminating risks where possible
if it’s not possible to eliminate risk, reduce it
Remember, if you need any help or advice with risk assessments, or how to comply with PUWER, please contact us here.