Equipment and Machinery at Work
Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), employers are responsible for assessing the risks that come with the equipment and machinery in their workplace, and taking the necessary steps to make their employees safe whilst using the equipment.
Making Equipment and Machinery Safe
When purchasing machinery and equipment, employers must ensure they are buying the correct tool for the job. They should then use the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure that it is installed properly and safely, and that there are no faults.
Dangerous parts of machinery should be guarded as much as possible to prevent workers coming into contact with them and causing themselves injury. Circular electric saw blades, for example, should be fully guarded except for the area necessary to cut material. This can help to prevent a serious injury should, for example, a worker trip and fall close to the machine.
It is important to inspect and maintain machinery regularly to ensure it is working correctly and all safety components are in place. Depending on the type of equipment and the manufacturer’s guidelines, this may take place daily, weekly or monthly, but it is highly recommended to carry out in depth inspections of all equipment every few months, and to record them in a maintenance book.
Employers are responsible for ensuring that only fully trained staff use equipment and machinery. Sometimes formal training courses and qualifications will be necessary to operate certain machinery; manufacturer’s guidelines should advise of this.
Training can be given in groups or individually, and should be repeated regularly in order to refresh and maintain the worker’s skills. Training should also be given if the technology is updated or changed, and if safety risks become greater with new risk assessments, which should be carried out regularly.