Worldwide safety for plant and machinery: special regulations in the United Kingdom.
Laws and standards in the United Kingdom
In Great Britain, a special Work Equipment Directive applies: Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)
These regulations cover all work equipment that employees use in the course of their work – from a hammer to mechanical presses and motor vehicles. Use of work equipment, for example, is defined as maintenance, cleaning, transport or commissioning of the equipment.
PUWER not only requires that appropriate work equipment is provided and properly maintained, it also stipulates that risks arising from use of the equipment must be prevented in advance.
What is PUWER?
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) are made under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) and came into force on 5 December 1998. The main objective of PUWER is to ensure the provision of safe work equipment throughout the lifetime of its use, regardless of its condition, age or origin.
Every employer is required to assess the risks to the health and safety of people in their workplace. The regulations not only require employers to provide suitable and safe work equipment and machines, but also to consider working conditions and any risks to the health and safety of personnel, this includes providing appropriate training.
What does POWER apply to?
PUWER applies to the provision and use of all work equipment and machinery, including mobile and lifting equipment, in short, anything from a tool to a single machine to an assembly plant.