These Regulations, often abbreviated to PUWER, place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment. PUWER 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 for the intended use
safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and does not subsequently deteriorate
used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls. These will normally include emergency stop devices, adequate means of isolation from sources of energy, clearly visible markings and warning devices
used in accordance with specific requirements, for mobile work equipment and power presses
Some work equipment is subject to other health and safety legislation in addition to PUWER. For example, lifting equipment must also meet the requirements of LOLER, pressure equipment must meet the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations and personal protective equipment must meet the PPE Regulations .
The purpose of an inspection is to identify whether work equipment can be operated, adjusted and maintained safely – with any deterioration detected and remedied before it results in a health and safety risk. Not all work equipment needs formal inspection to ensure safety and, in many cases, a quick visual check before use will be sufficient. However, inspection is necessary for any equipment where significant risks to health and safety may arise from incorrect installation, reinstallation, deterioration or any other circumstances. The need for inspection and inspection frequencies should be determined through risk assessment.
Work equipment which is exposed to conditions causing deterioration that could result in a dangerous situation should be inspected at suitable intervals, and after every event liable to jeopardise its safety. The frequency of inspection may vary, depending on environmental conditions (eg equipment subject to harsh outdoor conditions is likely to need more frequent inspections than if used in an indoor environment).
The frequency of inspection should be determined through risk assessment, taking account of the manufacturer's recommendations, industry advice and your own experience. It may be appropriate to review the frequency of inspection in the light of your experience. Intervals between inspections can be increased if the inspection history shows negligible deterioration, or shortened where experience shows this is necessary to prevent danger.