SAFed Health and Safety Passport Scheme

Module 10 —Work Equipment

10.1            Introduction

This document forms one of a series of modules on various health and safety subjects that comprise the examinable material considered necessary for the award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport.

When you have studied this module you should have acquired sufficient knowledge to be able to complete the questions detailed at the end of the module.  Upon satisfactory completion of all modules, you will be eligible to undertake the final assessment for the award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport.

The SAFed Health and Safety Passport is issued to Engineer Surveyors by the Health and Safety Manager of their employing company upon satisfactory completion of the Safety Passport final assessment.

The award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport provides evidence that the holder of the Passport has the appropriate knowledge and awareness in health and safety matters considered necessary for an Engineer Surveyor to undertake the duties for which they are authorised by their employing company.

The passport is valid for a maximum of three years.

10.2     Key Objectives

Having read this module you should be aware of:

The legal requirement regarding Work Equipment at work within your own company and if applicable, the site at which you are working at the time.

10.3     Legal Commentary

The Health and Safety laws, which cover this module are:

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Provision and Use of Work Regulations 1998

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

10.4            Discussion

The safety in use and maintenance of work equipment is covered by:

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98), which replaces and revokes the earlier PUWER 92.  PUWER 98 applies to all work equipment, including lifting equipment.  However, there are also the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98) which cover the lifting aspects of equipment and lifting operations.


10.5            PUWER 98 — Introduction

PUWER 92 required that work equipment be maintained in good repair and an efficient state.  PUWER 98 added to this by introducing a requirement for inspection.  It requires that:

a)      An initial inspection should be carried out where the risk assessment carried out under regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 has identified a significant risk to the operator or other workers from the installation or use of the work equipment.

b)      Regular, periodic inspection should be carried out where the safe operation of work equipment is critically dependent on its condition in use and deterioration would lead to a significant risk to the operator or other worker.

c)      The results of such inspections should be recorded and kept until the next inspection has been recorded.

d)      Work equipment taken from an employer’s workplace, for example moved to another site, must be accompanied by physical evidence that the last inspection required by these regulations was carried out.

e)      No work equipment obtained from the undertaking of another person can be used unless there is physical evidence that the last inspection required by the regulations has been carried out.

PUWER 98 also contains specific requirements for mobile work equipment.

10.5.1  What is PUWER?

The Regulations require risks to people’s health and safety, from equipment that they use at work, to be prevented or controlled.  In addition to the requirements of PUWER, lifting equipment is also subject to the requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

10.5.2  What does PUWER do?

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; and accompanied by suitable safety measures, eg protective devices, markings, warnings.

10.5.3  What equipment is covered by the Regulations?

Generally, any equipment which is used by an employee at work is covered, for example hammers, knives, ladders, drilling machines, power presses, circular saws, photocopiers, mobile telephones, lifting equipment (including lifts), dumper trucks and company motor vehicles.  Similarly, if you allow employees to provide their own equipment, it too will be covered by PUWER and you will need to make sure it complies.

Work equipment must meet all the requirements of the Regulations

10.5.4  Do the Regulations apply to me?

If you are an employer or self-employed person and you provide equipment for use at work, or if you have control of the use of equipment, then the Regulations apply to you.

They do not apply to equipment used by the public, for example compressed air equipment used in a garage forecourt.  However, such circumstances are covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act).

While employees do not have duties under PUWER, they do have general duties under the HSW Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR), for example to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions, and to co-operate with others.  The Regulations cover places where the HSW Act applies, these include factories, offshore installations, offices, shops, hospitals, hotels, places of entertainment etc.  PUWER also applies in common parts of shared buildings and temporary places of work such as construction sites.  While the Regulations cover equipment used by people working from home, they do not apply to domestic work in a private household.

10.5.5  What do the Regulations require?

You must 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

·         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 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, 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.

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.

10.6     Mobile work equipment

In addition to these general requirements which apply to all work equipment, Part III of PUWER contains specific duties regarding mobile work equipment, for example fork-lift trucks and dumper trucks.

You should ensure that where mobile work equipment is used for carrying people, it is suitable for this purpose. Measures should be taken to reduce the risks (eg from it rolling over) to the safety of the people being carried, the operator and anyone else.

10.7     Power presses

Part IV of the Regulations also contains specific requirements regarding power presses.  In particular, you should have a power press, and associated guard or protection device, thoroughly examined at specified intervals and inspected daily in use to ensure that it is safe.  This work should only be performed by a competent person; records should be kept.

10.8     How do the Regulations relate to other health and safety legislation?

The requirements of the Regulations need to be considered alongside other health and safety law.  For example, section 2 of the HSW Act requires all employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all their employees.  Similarly, the MHSWR contain important duties relating to the carrying out of a risk assessment to identify measures that you can take to eliminate, or reduce, the risks presented by the particular hazards in your workplace.  Other more specific legislation may also apply, for example:

·         The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which cover, for example, workplace risks to pedestrians from vehicles;

·         The Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 which contain, for example, specific requirements relating to certain types of work equipment such as scaffolding.

Generally, if you are meeting the requirements of more specific legislation such as those outlined above, then this should normally be sufficient to meet the more general requirements of PUWER.

10.9     How are the Regulations enforced?

Health and safety inspectors enforce the Regulations.

10.10            LOLER 98 — Introduction

LOLER 98 defines lifting equipment as work equipment for lifting and lowering loads, including people, and its attachments used for anchoring, fixing it or supporting it.  The measures taken to comply with the regulations would be proportionate to any risk created by the lifting equipment.

It should be remembered that for items such as lift trucks, LOLER, applies to the lifting aspects of the equipment, whilst the non-lifting aspects are under the auspices of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98).

10.10.1            LOLER 98 — Specific requirements

LOLER sets out specific requirements, which can be summarised as follows: -

·         A thorough examination should be carried out before the equipment is taken into use if it does not have a certificate of conformity produced within the last twelve months.

·         A thorough examination after installation and before being put into service for the first time, if the equipment’s safety depends on installation conditions.

·         A thorough examination of the equipment following repair, refurbishment or being moved and reassembled at a new site.

·         A thorough examination in cases where the equipment is likely to deteriorate and result in a dangerous situation.

[Note: The final requirement noted above covers in-service examinations.  Since in reality, all lifting equipment is likely to deteriorate with use, in-service examinations will almost certainly apply to all lifting equipment that is in use]

10.10.2            LOLER 98 — Maximum frequencies and risk assessment

The maximum frequencies required for these in-service examinations are 6 monthly for equipment that carries people and 12 monthly for other equipment.  Your risk assessment should determine if more frequent examinations are necessary.  In some cases your risk assessment may determine that the frequencies can be extended, in this case the examinations should be carried out in accordance with an examination scheme.

The risk assessment outlined above should be carried out by a competent person.  The competent person will determine the extent of the thorough examination and determine the circumstances in which a test may be required.

10.11   End of module and next steps

Well done!  By reaching this point you will have finished studying this particular module.  You should now have sufficient knowledge to answer the questions contained at the end of the module.

Answers to the questions should be forwarded to your Health and Safety Manager.

Provided that you have answered the questions correctly, your Health and Safety Manager will forward to you your next self study module.

 Click here to answer Module 10 Questions