PUWER – Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

What is PUWER?

PUWER stands for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (1999 in Northern Ireland). The regulations deal with the work equipment and machinery used every day in workplaces and aims to keep people safe wherever equipment and machinery is used at work. PUWER replaces the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992, carrying forward the existing requirements with a number of changes and additions.

What does PUWER do?

Put simply, the PUWER Regulations aim to make working life safer for everyone using and coming into contact with machinery and equipment, including employers, employees, contractors, suppliers and anyone else who might use or have access to machinery in the workplace.

The regulations aim to ensure that all equipment is:

  • Suitable for its intended purpose
  • Regularly maintained to ensure safety
  • Only used by people who have received adequate training
  • Inspected by a competent worker

Who does PUWER apply to?

It’s not just large businesses that are subject to the Regulations – if you use or control work equipment, or if you’re self-employed operating for profit or not, then you have a legal obligation to follow them. However, the regulations do not refer to equipment used by the public, which comes under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It also does not apply to those who have supplied or sold equipment In this case it’s up to the purchaser of equipment to make sure that it is specified, installed and used so that it does not present a risk to those at work.

All staff using waste equipment or manually handling waste MUST have suitable training to ensure their personal safety.