PUWER is the acronym for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 which came in to force on the 5th December 1998.
The Regulations state the responsibility and/or control of work equipment lies with the employer, duty holder and anyone else.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the statute and underneath the statute lies a number of regulations , PUWER, being one of them. Some of the regulations do overlap.
Regulations should not be considered in isolation from other health and safety legislation.
PUWER applies to all workplace and work situations where the Health and Safety at Work Act applies.
Regulation 4 looks at the suitability of work equipment. So this means that whilst you are work it is not acceptable to stand on a chair to reach something or to change a light bulb as that is not the intended use of the chair. A suitable piece or work equipment, in these examples, would be a step ladder or something similar.
The employer or duty holder should also ensure that the work equipment used is maintained in good repair and efficient working order. This could mean that it undergoes an inspection prior to use.
Regulation 9 is all about training. It’s not just about ensuring that the person who is using the work equipment has received adequate training and any risks that there be and precautions to be taken but it includes the managers and supervisors of those who use work equipment.
This does not mean that managers and supervisors have to be qualified operators of work equipment, eg forklift trucks, but it does mean that they need to know what the risks are and what precautions must be taken.
If managers and supervisors aren’t aware of the risks how will they know if an operator of work equipment is using it dangerously?
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Until next time……….