The scope of ‘work equipment’ is very wide. It covers almost any equipment used at work, including:
- hand tools such as hammers, handsaws, chisels etc.
- single machines such as circular saws, drilling machines, lathes, dumper trucks etc.
- apparatus such as laboratory apparatus (Bunsen burners etc.)
- lifting equipment such as hoists and lifting slings, lift trucks, passenger lifts, mobile elevating work platforms etc.
- other equipment such as ladders, pressure water cleaners etc.
- an installation such as a series of machines connected together, for example a production line.
Work equipment is covered by the Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). PUWER places duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment, and also places responsibilities on businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment, whether owned by them or not.
PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is suitable, safe, inspected, correctly installed, protected where necessary and used only by people who have received the necessary training.
Some work equipment is subject to other health and safety legislation in addition to PUWER. For example, pressure equipment must meet the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations and personal protective equipment (PPE) must meet the PPE Regulations.
Another example is lifting equipment must meet the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). As for PUWER, LOLER also places duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment, and also places responsibilities on businesses and organisations whose employees use lifting equipment, whether owned by them or not.
LOLER requires that all equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task, suitably marked and, in many cases, subject to statutory periodic ‘thorough examinations’.
When undertaking lifting operations using lifting equipment it must ensured that: they are planned properly; they are appropriately supervised; they are carried out in a safe manner; and that the people are sufficiently competent.
Advice on work equipment can be obtained from the Health and Safety Team, Tŷ Elai, Williamstown, CF40 1NY, telephone number 01443 425546.