As well as the equipment, the Regulations focus on the knowledge, training and experience of the user. For example, with high risk machinery such as power presses, it is required that the equipment is examined and tested by a “competent person”, before they are put into use for the first time and then every six or twelve months depending on the types of guard fitted. Machine users are also required to carry out an inspection and test of the safety devices every day the press is used to ensure that it is safe to use.
PUWER also requires that all equipment used in the workplace has either been constructed or adapted so that, in the conditions in which it is to be used, it doesn’t pose an unacceptable risk to people’s health and safety. Questions to ask yourself about equipment include:
- Will it work and be safe as it is?
- Will it have to be adapted in some way to ensure safety?
You have a legal obligation to protect yourself and your workers when using machinery or equipment, which should be done by carrying out a risk assessment involving:
- Identifying hazards and making a note of anything that can cause harm
- Assessing risks by considering the chance of harm actually being done (this helps you to work out what action to take to eliminate and reduce those risks)
- Eliminating and reducing the risks by asking yourself whether it’s possible to eliminate any of the risks, perhaps by working out different ways of doing things
- If it’s not possible to eliminate all the risks, listing ways to reduce them and identifying the precautions to take.
The reality is that the vast majority of accidents in the workplace happen where there has been insufficient training
“I received in house training from Dave 5 years ago and repeatedly told my manager I didn’t feel the training was correct but I am forced to carry on working or lose my job.” PUWER is a responsibility to both staff & Employer