Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations

In general terms, the Regulations require that equipment provided for use at work is:

  • Suitable for the intended use
  • Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and, in certain circumstances, inspected to ensure this remains the case
  • Used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
  • Accompanied by suitable safety measures, e.g. protective devices, markings, warnings.

What do the regulations require of an employer?

Ensure that the work equipment you provide meets the requirements of PUWER.  In doing so, you should ensure that it is:

  • Suitable for use, and for the purpose and conditions in which it is used
  • Maintained in a safe condition for use so that people’s health and safety is not at risk
  • 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 competence to perform the task) and a record kept until the next inspection.

You should also ensure that risks, created by the use of the equipment, are eliminated where possible or controlled by:

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

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.  You need to ensure that people using work equipment have received adequate training, instruction and information for the particular equipment.