What is PUWER?



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?

If you have any questions or would like some advice and guidance please feel free to call me on 01933 677708 or email me at info@phoenixsafetyservices.co.uk

Until next time……….

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How To Select the Right Safety Footwear by Clive Astin


A plethora of hazards present themselves to workers feet.  From falling objects, to stepping on spikes, to hot and cold temperatures, chemical hazards, as well as slip risks.  The list certainly goes on!  Whether you’re an employer or an employee, understanding the latest safety footwear standards will ensure that you and your staff are wearing safety footwear that exceeds the minimum legislative and protective requirements, ensuring the safety of the wearer within specified working environments.

All new safety footwear products must be manufactured and certified under EN ISO 20345:2011, and the first part of selecting the correct safety footwear is to pay attention to the Safety Ratings:

Safety Ratings Include: 

SB – Basic requirements: Safety footwear with a toe protector that can bear impact of 200 Joules
S1 – Basic requirements: Closed heel area, energy absorbing seat area, antistatic properties and resistance to fuel oil
S1P – The same as S1 but with P penetration and absorption
S2 – As S1 plus water penetration and absorption
S3 – S2, but with penetration resistance and cleated outsole
S4 – S1 plus entirely moulded polymer/rubber upper, making them waterproof and leak-proof
S5 – S4 plus midsole penetration resistance

So you’ve chosen your Safety Rating.  Now chose your Slip Resistance:

SRA – Tested on ceramic tile, wetted with sodium lauryl sulphate (soap solution)

SRB – Tested on steel with glycerol
SRC – Tested under both SRA ad SRB conditions

Now you’ve identified your protective and slip-resistance ratings, choose from these additional symbols and abbreviations:

A – Antistatic

AN – Ankle Protection

C – Conductive

CR – Cut-Resistant Upper

ESD – Electrostatic Discharge

HRO – Heat-Resistant Outsole

I – Electricity Insulating

M – Metatarsal Protection

P – Penetration Resistance

WR – Water Resistance

WRU – Water Penetration and Water Absorption Upper

So there we have it.

Follow these four simple stages and you’ll be sure to have happy, comfortable and safe feet!

1:  Ensure you see ISO 20345:2011 on the label

2:  Choose your Safety Rating
3:  Select your Slip-Resistance
4:  Select Your Additional Symbols

You can download a simple safety footwear guide here.  Gorilla Safety features an easy ‘selection filter’ on the right-hand-side of their website here, ensuring the four stages can be easily followed.


“Due to health and safety reasons……….”

Have you ever gone in to a shop or premises and seen signs that start with the words “due to health and safety reasons”? I know I have (more than once).

Last week I was in a retail outlet and I saw a sign that said “due to health and safety reasons we can no longer sell display tvs sorry for any inconvenience”.

This did get me thinking of what the health and safety reasons could be as I know this particular retailer has sold display televisions in the past. Not much had changed from a previous visit other than the store layout. After browsing the store I was still curious so I thought I would ask a member of staff.

Sadly, the member of staff had no idea and said that the signs had been put up over the previous weekend but he wasn’t told why.

I decided to leave it and not trouble the staff any further as they were particularly busy. The problem is I have a curious mind and it does bug me that some companies due the “health and safety” tag for reasons/excuses rather than just saying it is company policy.

Yesterday I decided to phone the store to ask what the health and safety reasons were. The lady who I spoke to seemed surprised that I was asking the question but she too was unable to answer the question so she asked the health and safety rep.

It turns out that as the tvs are now displayed on a racking system the power sockets are quite a way back so for the store to sell the display items it would mean the staff members having to lean over the racking system whilst on ladders and this would be an health and safety concern for the staff member(s) as well as the general public (if the televisions were to fall).

That made perfect sense and I was happy with the explanation.

The lesson I have learnt from this is that you should not worry about asking a question and challenging something that may be easily accepted just because it is for health and safety reasons.

Until next time…………..

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Fraudulent Forklift Certificates

There are some fraudulent Phoenix Training certificates ‘doing the rounds’. This was brought to my attention last week as a company rang to verify a couple of our certificates as they had a feeling there wasn’t something quite right with them.

The instructor name and details on the certificates were of an instructor who left Phoenix in 2006 but the certificates were dated 2014.

Once saw the certificates I knew that they had been tampered with as some parts (other than signatures) had been handwritten. Upon further investigation the original certificate had been issued in 1998 and the date had been Tippexed out and handwritten as 2014. The candidate had handed over a photocopy rather than the original so this was not obvious to the person receiving it.

I was also sent another certificate yesterday. On first appearance it looked quite convincing but several things didn’t quite fit. Firstly the date on the certificate was 2013 but our address was the one we had left in 2010. The instructor and authoriser signatures were not genuine—in fact they looked nothing like the originals. The instructor and authoriser of the certificate, had by 2013, both passed away. When I checked our records the certificate number was correct, the person it had been issued to was also correct but they had altered the date from June 2007 to June 2013.

All of the fraudulent certificates that I have seen over the past week (two for one person and one for another) were all in the old style of our certification. The final old style certificate was issued on 23rd June 2011. From 24th June 2011 the new style which includes the candidate photograph have been issued, please see examples below.

If you have any concerns about a certificate issued by Phoenix Training please do ask us to verify it is genuine and correct. I would much rather verify 20 certificates a day than let a potentially unsafe operator use a truck.

We can be contacted on 01933 677708 or email info@phoenixsafetyservices.co.uk

Until next time…….

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Fork Lift Certificates Expiry Dates and Refresher Training


A topic I am frequently asked to give advice on is the expiry dates on fork lift certificates and frequency of refresher training.

The training that we deliver is to ITSSAR accredited standards and, as such, we must follow the guidance as laid out in the Health and Safety Executive Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) Rider-Operated Lift Trucks (L117).

As a training organisation we are not permitted to put expiry dates on our certification as fork lift certificates do not expire. If certificates have been issued by an NPORS or RTITB accredited training organisation the expiry date on the certificates relates to the operators registration with that particular organisation not the expiry of the certification.

The HSE state in the ACoP that there is no legal requirement to issue certificates but certificates do provide evidence that operators have received relevant training and achieved an appropriate level of operating ability.

Refresher training is an excellent way to ensure operators maintain good driving habits and it is an opportunity to have their abilities reassessed. Refreshers may also be appropriate for operators who do not use the truck(s) on a regular basis, who have developed unsafe working practices or have had an accident or near-miss.

The ACoP also states:

“There is no specific time period after which you need to provide refresher training or formal assessment. However, you may decide that automatic refresher training or a retest after a set period (for example 3-5 years) is the best way to make sure employees remain competent. Where you adopt this approach, you will still need to monitor performance, in case operators need extra training before the set period ends.”

More often than not your own risk assessments and company policy will determine the time between refresher training.

A copy of the Approved Code of Practice can be purchased from the HSE book store for £15 or you can download it for free from http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l117.htm

If you have any questions please feel free to call me on 01933 677708 or email me at info@phoenixsafetyservices.co.uk

Until next time……….






Fork Lift Truck Certificates

Have you ever been presented with a fork lift certificate (licence) and just accepted it at face value? In all honesty most people do.

Do you know what to look for?

Did you know that if the certificate was issued by an accredited training organisation there are certain things that should be included on the certificate itself? This rule applies regardless of which accrediting body it is.

The four members of the Accrediting Bodies Association (Workplace Transport) now all operate their own registration schemes and candidates who have received training from an accredited training organisation should be registered with the appropriate accrediting body. This has been the case since at least 1st January 2015.

The four members of the ABA are:

This is all verifiable so that you can be sure the training the candidate has received has met the nationally recognised standards and within the correct timeframes.

If you are unsure of whether a fork lift certificate is genuine or the training provided is accredited why not give us a call on 01933 677708 and we will be able to help.

Until next time……

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