Safe equipment


Safe equipment

You must select and install equipment properly, use it carefully and make sure it is maintained to protect the health and safety of yourself, employees and others who may be affected by the way you use it.

These requirements are set out in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, and supported where necessary by other legislation. This includes the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Personal Protective Equipment at Works Regulations 1992.

When selecting equipment, look for a CE marking and Declaration of Conformity to show it is safe. This is particularly important when selecting second hand equipment that may be old. Risk assessment should ensure the right equipment is selected, and inspection should ensure it is fit for purpose and safe to operate.

All work equipment and machinery should be:

  • Suitable for the purpose intended
  • Of adequate strength and stability
  • Inspected on installation and regularly after that, ensuring safety inspection results are properly recorded
  • Properly maintained and a log of this kept
  • Properly guarded to prevent access to dangerous parts (usually the parts that move)
  • Fitted with appropriate stop and emergency stop controls, together with suitable warning markings and devices
  • Properly lit to ensure safe operation

In addition, work equipment must be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order, and in good repair. Efficiency must be considered in terms of safety not production. This means that guards, stops and other safety devices provided to protect users must be in place and working effectively. If they do not work or are damaged, the equipment must be taken out of use immediately and made safe.

Staff will need proper instruction, training and supervision to use equipment safely and only for the purpose intended.

Lifting equipment may require additional measures, including:

  • Gates and interlocks to stop people coming into contact with the equipment, or falling down lift shafts
  • A safe work load (SWL) conspicuously marked
  • Thorough examination and inspection by a competent person at regular intervals. (He competent person must notify inspectors of any dangerous defect found within 28 days)
  • Records of competent person inspections need to be kept for at least two years

Selecting, installing, maintaining and using the vast array of equipment found in workplaces is a complex subject. For more detailed information, including guidance and leaflets, please visit HSE Equipment Selection.

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