What are PUWER Regulations, and What Equipment Does It Cover?

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Complying with health and safety regulations is crucial for creating a safe and secure working environment. One such set of regulations that plays a vital role in ensuring workplace safety is the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER).

PUWER is a regulation covering the work equipment and machinery used in everyday work operations. PUWER aims to reduce the hazards and risks involving the use of workplace equipment, ensuring the safety of people wherever this workplace equipment is used. PUWER was originally introduced to ensure that all workplace equipment remains suitable and safe and only operates by a competent and trained individual.

The PUWER regulation sets out various health and safety requirements, which in turn place legal duties on the shoulders of the employer, making them legally responsible for taking appropriate safety measures in the workplace to eliminate hazards involving workplace equipment.

As PUWER, organizations are required to stay compliant with the PUWER regulations. Therefore, it is vital to be aware of what types of equipment PUWER regulation highlights. This article will provide an overview of PUWER regulations and explain what types of workplace equipment are included in the PUWER, making it easier for you and your organization to stay in compliance.

 

PUWER overview

PUWER regulations require all workplace equipment to be:

- Maintained safely by the designated professionals

- In a safe condition so that the equipment properly functions when required

- Suitable and only used for the intended purpose

- Frequently inspected by a competent and trained professional

- Used only by the operators who have appropriate training

- Used with appropriate control measures such as protective devices

Meaning PUWER dictates some legal responsibilities for workplace employers, instructing them on staying compliant with the above-mentioned key provisions. PUWER requires workplaces to install, use, inspect, and maintain all workplace equipment to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. Employers, employees, contractors, and suppliers are all legally required to abide by the PUWER regulations.

Whether you work at a construction site, office, healthcare facility, warehouse or shop, the PUWER regulation applies to all workplaces if your work tasks involve the use of work equipment. Regardless of where the work equipment is made, its supplier, and what work it is being used for, it is important to ensure it meets the health and safety standards.

 

PUWER Regulations – Employers and Employees'

 

Responsibilities

In the realm of workplace safety, both employers and employees play critical roles in adhering to the provisions of PUWER regulations. Employers are responsible for providing suitable work equipment, ensuring its proper maintenance, and implementing control measures to minimize risks. They must also deliver comprehensive information and training to employees, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to safely operate equipment and identify potential hazards. On the other hand, employees must follow safe work practices, utilize provided personal protective equipment (PPE), promptly report any equipment faults or concerns, and actively participate in training programs to enhance their understanding of workplace safety. One such valuable training program is the "IOSH working safely" which empowers employees with practical knowledge and awareness to identify and mitigate risks, fostering a culture of compliance with PUWER regulations. By engaging in such training, employees can benefit from enhanced safety awareness, reduced workplace accidents, improved job satisfaction, and peace of mind from knowing they are actively contributing to a safe work environment.

 

What equipment is covered by PUWER regulations?

PUWER covers all workplace equipment that could pose a hazard and threat to those operating or using it. It applies to portable and stationary equipment, from computers to handheld tools, all fall under the category of PUWER. Compliance with PUWER implies anyone who owns, operates, or controls work equipment in the workplace.

Because the terminology is wide, it can be difficult to determine what equipment PUWER exactly refers to. The requirements, however, apply to all work equipment, whether new or used, and whether your employer owns or rents it. As a result, you should always presume that PUWER applies to the equipment in your workplace.

Here are some examples of types of work equipment that PUWER covers:

 

Tools

- Power tools

- Glue guns

- Saws

- Welding equipment

- Abrasive wheels

- Wood presses

- Knives

- Pressure washers

- Belt sanders

- Hammers

- Clamps

- Pumps and hoses

 

Machinery

- Forklift trucks

- Drills

- Motor vehicles

- Food processors

- Hoists

- Pallet trucks

- Conveyors

- Sewing machines

- Paint booths

- Cherry pickers

- Lathes

- Floor polishers

 

Apparatus

- Cooking equipment

- Laboratory items

- Bunsen burners

- Ladders

- Fire-fighting equipment

- PPE

- Scaffolding

- Medical equipment

 

Appliances

- Commercial fridges and freezers

- Ovens and microwaves

- Dishwashers

- Washing machines

- Commercial coffee makers

- Hot and cold holding units

- Computers

- Photocopiers

 

Installations

- Electrical wiring

- Lighting

- Water sprinklers

- Air conditioning units

- Heating systems

- Plumbing systems

- Escalators and elevators

- Emergency stop controls

 

PUWER inspection

PUWER inspections are necessary to ensure that the equipment is functioning properly and is safe for use. Inspecting your work equipment helps identify or address any faults and defects in the work equipment, such as wear, tear, damage, break, or deterioration.

One great way to effectively inspect your workplace equipment is by performing a PUWER risk assessment. A risk assessment helps analyze and identify the faults with the work equipment, allowing you to evaluate effective control measures to reduce these hazards. The frequency of your PUWER inspections depends on how properly the risk assessments are carried out. Therefore, it is recommended that risk assessment should be carried out by competent and skilled individuals who have undergone training like PUWER risk assessment training and have adequate certification. The more frequent and better the risk assessment, your work environment will be safer and more secure. Risk assessments can be an ultimate tool for assuring your compliance with the PUWER regulations. Therefore, one must uphold the significance of it.

 

PUWER regulations require four types of inspections, which are:

Following installation and before being used for the first time. A competent person must conduct a formal inspection to guarantee that it was properly installed and will operate safely.

Before using the equipment. Before using any work equipment, operators should perform a short pre-use inspection to verify there are no evident signs of damage. They should, for example, inspect the cords on handheld tools and test the brakes and lights on work vehicles.

When work equipment is repeatedly exposed to conditions that cause deterioration over time and compromise the safety of the equipment. This could range from weekly to monthly checks, depending on how frequently you use the equipment and the exact environment in which it is used. For example, if you utilize the equipment in inclement weather or on a construction site. This information should be identified in your risk assessment, but you should also consult the manufacturer's instructions, as they may provide guidance on inspection frequencies.

Due to unusual circumstances. For example, if the equipment has undergone extensive alterations, refurbishment, significant changes in its use, or severe damage.

 

Conclusion

Complying with PUWER regulations is essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of employees in the workplace. By understanding the equipment types covered by PUWER, meeting the key requirements, and implementing practical tips for compliance, employers can create a safer work environment and prevent accidents and injuries. Prioritizing health and safety protects employees and contributes to increased productivity and organizational success. Remember, a safe workplace is a productive workplace!

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