The safe use of work equipment, especially electrical equipment, including heavy plants and fixed appliances, is critical. Such tools and equipment help facilitate everyday tasks, boosting business efficiency. But at the same time, heavy or consistent use of machinery involves potential risks related to health and safety.
Organizations operating in London must comply with PUWER (The Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) to ensure the safe use of work equipment.
What Is PUWER?
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) include British regulations for employers, duty holders, managers, and supervisors to ensure that work equipment operated by its employees is safe. It is noteworthy that it’s not a law but holds a special status under the Health and Safety at Work Act. These regulations are applicable in all the work sites (factories, shops, offices, hospitals, construction sites, farms, and others) of Great Britain and must be complied with.
With that being said, let’s learn more about work equipment safety!
What Is Work Equipment?
Any equipment, appliance (including portable appliances), tool, machinery, etc., which is used to streamline the business work is referred to as work equipment. It generally includes:
- Fixed machines such as FLTs, handheld drilling machines, photocopies, and others.
- Hand tools like knives, screwdrivers, handsaws, chisels, and more.
- Portable electrical equipment such as floor polishing machines, portable power tools, heaters, vacuums, etc.
- Equipment for working at a height such as a ladder, mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs), platforms, and more.
It may include other tools and equipment, depending on the type of business you may have in London. It means any operation or activity requiring work equipment, including starting, programming, stopping, setting, repairing, or transporting.
Nevertheless, compliance with provisions of PUWER is essential.
Why Is Work Equipment Safety-Critical?
Every year numerous enterprises report accidents caused by poor use of work equipment and neglected safety standards. While some accidents are minor, many cause fatalities or severe injuries to the workers. Furthermore, it leads to legal trouble and a waste of time and resources (both monetary and non-monetary). All this affects an organization to a great extent. That’s why the safety of work equipment is important.
What Are The Main Provisions Of PUWER?
Though there are more than 30 provisions that a business must comply with. Below are the main provisions:
Regular maintenance of every piece of equipment is critical to boosting employees’ productivity and providing them with a safe working environment. Please read the instructions given by manufacturers and suppliers or consult them directly to get insights about equipment instructions. Make sure to shut down the tools and machinery properly before beginning the repair and maintenance to eliminate any possible life or health threat. If workers require protective gear to operate certain equipment, provide the same to them.
PAT Testing By Qualified Person
PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) testing, also known as EET (Electrical Equipment Testing) of your business appliances, is important to ensure compliance with PUWER. While looking for PAT Testing London, it is critical that you hire only qualified engineers. Depending on your requirements, the professional testers can provide you with one-off EET testing or comprehensive annual service.
Many managers or supervisors often wonder whether PAT testing is mandatory or not. The answer is NO, it is not mandatory, but it is critical for elevating the safety of equipment and ensuring that your tools or appliances are in accordance with the IET “Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.”
Use Of Controls
The majority of the powered work equipment has a start and stop control options located within operators. Make sure each controlling option can be identified clearly, and employees understand the respective functions. In addition to this, the positioning and design of the tools or machinery should be such that it does not pose any hazard to the employees or organization.
It is essential that you train your employees about the safe use of appliances. Regular training or a yearly overview of the equipment and tools will help them stay updated with the technical changes. It will also help boost their efficiency, which will ultimately help grow the organization.
Not to forget, the training will also promote a safe working routine and practices, help in raising awareness about the possible hazards or dangers associated with the use of work appliances, and understand the current legislation.
In fact, including practical training to deal with a workplace accident will also come in handy. It will give supervisors as well as employees peace of mind that they work in a safe environment and can protect themselves in case of adversity.
Suitability Of The Equipment
Last but not least, you must also make certain that the equipment or tool your employees are using is suited to work. What are the prevailing working conditions and any possible risk associated with the equipment used is a critical question to take into consideration for ensuring the tool’s suitability.
The risk assessment is often required under the management’s regulations and helps streamline the selection process. You must also learn about the design of the required tools and equipment to know where they can be used and how to use them safely.
For example, using large scissor lifts helps in reducing manual handling and falling of the large and heavy products. However, if not repaired on time, it can possibly cause trouble with confined spaces and machinery.
What Else Can You Do To Manage Any Possible Risk?
Apart from adhering to the PUWER provisions, you can take the following steps to minimize or manage the possible risks.
- Ensure that equipment is used for the said purpose.
- Avoid trying temporary hacks to repair the appliances.
- Provide clear instructions about the use of appliances, especially to new employees.
- Make sure that the use of certain appliances is limited to well-trained employees only.
- The equipment must be stabilized from clamping.
To Sum It All Up
Non-compliance with The Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 can not only get you in legal trouble but also pose hazardous threats to the employees. So, make sure to maintain the equipment, conduct PAT testing, and train your employees. These minor steps will go a long way to uplift your London-based organization’s productivity.