PUWER – Use of Workplace Equipment
Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations1998 (PUWER) it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that the correct equipment and machinery is used for the manner of work, and that all staff using it are sufficiently trained to do so. This is to reduce the risk of malfunctions and accidents which could result in serious injury or death of employees.
Employers should ensure that all staff are adequately trained to prepare and operate the machinery and equipment they use at work. Sometimes this takes the form of qualifications which workers may have achieved before they were employed, for example, a fork lift driving licence. Most of the time, however, formal qualifications are not necessary and the employer must provide training on the job. It is recommended that staff training records are kept and updated if retraining must take place. This may happen if the technology of the equipment develops, if risks within the workplace change, or simply when refresher training is given to ensure that workers’ skills remain fresh.
It is an employer’s duty to ensure that workplace equipment is regularly inspected and maintained, in order to keep it in excellent working condition and prevent faults which can result in accidents. Although not a legal requirement, it is recommended that maintenance logs are kept so that keeping track of repairs of equipment is simple and efficient. If maintenance logs are kept by an employer they must, by law, keep them fully up to date.
Equipment inspections should occur as regularly as the manufacturer advises, and this will depend on the type of equipment it is. Some will require daily inspections before they are put in use, in order to make sure everything is working correctly. More in depth inspections should take place monthly in order to examine general wear and tear that may occur from regular use, or the effects of the environment.