PUWER

Plant and equipment used at work falls into several legislations but the one we’re talking about today is Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

PUWER generally covers any equipment which is used by an employee at work, for example hammers, knives, ladders, drilling machines, power presses, circular saws, photocopiers, lifting equipment (including lifts), dumper trucks and motor vehicles. Similarly, if you allow employees to provide their own equipment then it will also be covered by PUWER and you will need to make sure it complies. Examples of uses of equipment which are covered by the Regulations include starting or stopping the equipment, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing, cleaning and transporting.

What do the Regulations require me to do? 

You must ensure that the work equipment you provide meets the requirements of PUWER.

You should ensure that it is:

  • suitable for use, and for the purpose and conditions in which it is to be used;
  • maintained in a safe condition for use so that people’s health and safety is not at risk; and
  • inspected, in certain circumstances, to ensure that it is and continues to be safe for use. Any inspection should be carried out by a competent person (this could be an employee if they have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to perform the task) and a record kept until the next inspection.

You should also ensure that risks created by using the equipment are eliminated where possible or controlled as far as reasonably practicable by:

  • taking appropriate ‘hardware’ measures, eg providing suitable guards, protection devices, markings and warning devices, system control devices (such as emergency stop buttons) and personal protective equipment; and
  • taking appropriate ‘software’ measures such as following safe systems of work (eg ensuring maintenance is only performed when equipment is shut down etc), and providing adequate information, instruction and training about the specific equipment.

A combination of these measures may be necessary depending on the requirements of the work, your assessment of the risks involved, and the practicability of such measures.

What do I have to do?

If you are an employer and you provide equipment for use (such as hammers, knives and ladders or electrical power tools and larger plant), you need to demonstrate that you have arrangements in place to make sure it is maintained in a safe condition.

Think about what hazards can occur:

  • if tools break during use;
  • if machinery starts up unexpectedly;
  • if there is contact with materials that are normally enclosed within the machine, ie caused by leaks/breakage/ejection etc.

Failing to correctly plan and communicate clear instructions and information before starting maintenance can lead to confusion and can cause accidents. This can be a particular problem if maintenance is carried out during normal production work or where there are contractors who are unfamiliar with the site.

Further information can be found here. 

LOLER

Plant and equipment used at work falls into several legislations but the one we’re talking about today is Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

LOLER

LOLER covers any plant and equipment that is used in any form of lifting whether this be slings, tackles, lifts, cranes, forklifts or attachments used, although it does not apply to escalators.

In addition to the requirements for safe design and construction, all lifting equipment should also be checked and maintained as necessary to keep it safe for use, so:

  • users may need to undertake simple pre-use checks (eg on lifting chains and slings), or make checks on a daily basis (eg for lift trucks)
  • in some cases, inspections and checks should be made on a regular basis, often weekly, but this may be on a monthly or quarterly basis (eg the checks undertaken by an operator on their crane)
  • employers should ensure that lifting equipment is thoroughly examined (normally once or twice a year but, in some cases, this may be more or less frequent)

These checks are necessary to verify that the lifting equipment can continue to be safely used

What is a ‘thorough examination’ under LOLER?

This is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals by a competent person who must then complete a written report. This report must contain the information required by LOLER Schedule 1 , including:

  • the examination date
  • the date when the next thorough examination is due
  • any defects found which are (or could potentially become) a danger to people

Where serious defects are identified, the competent person carrying out the examination must immediately report this verbally to the dutyholder. This should then be followed by the written report, a copy of which must also be sent to the relevant enforcing authority.

When should ‘thorough examination’ be carried out?

In order to verify that lifting equipment and accessories remain safe for use, and to detect and remedy any deterioration in good time, thorough examinations are required throughout the lifetime of the equipment, including examinations:

  • before use for the first time– unless the equipment has an EC Declaration of Conformity less than one year old and the equipment was not assembled on site. If it was assembled on site, it must be examined by a competent person to ensure that the assembly (eg a platform lift installed in a building) was completed correctly and safely
  • after assembly and before use at each location– for equipment that requires assembly or installation before use, eg tower cranes
  • regularly, while in service– if the equipment is exposed to conditions that cause deterioration which is likely to result in dangerous situations. Most lifting equipment will be subject to wear and tear and so will need regular in-service examination. Some may be exposed to significant environmental conditions which may cause further deterioration. You have a choice:
    • arrange for thorough examination to be carried out at the intervals specified by LOLER (every 6 or 12 months, depending on the equipment – see below), or
    • conduct examinations in accordance with an examination scheme, drawn up by a competent person
  • following exceptional circumstances– liable to jeopardise the safety of lifting equipment, which may include:
    • damage or failure
    • being out of use for long periods
    • major changes, which are likely to affect the equipment’s integrity (eg modifications, or replacement / repair of critical parts)

What are the specified intervals for regular thorough examinationst?

Type of equipment 6 months 12 months Examination scheme
Accessory for lifting
Equipment used to lift people
All other lifting equipment

Further information can be found here.