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PUWER 1998 | Definition, Regulation and Assessment

Updated: 1 day ago

a rotary metal lathe

PUWER stands for Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, this regulation provides clear instruction on the responsibilities of duty holders and workers when using equipment at work.


What does PUWER Stand For?

PUWER is a regulation created by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which stands for Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It is an important regulation that controls and manages equipment in the workplace.

The PUWER requires that work equipment must:

  • Be suitable for its intended use

  • Be safe for use, maintained and regularly inspected to avoid deterioration

  • Only be used by fully trained and competent workers

  • Accompanied by appropriate health and safety measures such as protective controls and devices

PUWER regulations must be followed by employers to ensure all workers are protected from the various machinery and equipment in the workplace.


Who does PUWER Apply to?


The PUWER act applies to both employers and employees to ensure everyone is safe when using the work equipment. It also applies to companies and people who own, operate or have control over certain work equipment.

PUWER places the responsibility on businesses and organisations whose employees regularly use the work equipment, regardless of if it is owned by the company or not.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure their workers receive full training and instruction on how to use the equipment correctly and safely. Regular risk assessments must also be performed to eliminate and reduce the hazards to effectively prevent and control the risks in the workplace when using the work equipment.


a collection of hand tools

What Equipment is Covered by PUWER 1998?


The HSE states that the scope of the equipment covered by PUWER is extremely wide and that the associated “work equipment is any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work”. This also includes any equipment that employees provide for their own use in the workplace.

The use of work equipment also “means any activity involving work equipment and includes starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning”.

Work equipment can include:

  • Work Vehicles – Cars, trucks, vans and bicycles.

  • Hand tools – saws, hammers, screwdrivers etc.

  • Machinery – abrasive wheels, drilling machines, power presses.

  • Portable machines – power tools, vacuums, floor polishing machines.

  • Ladders, scaffolding, towers.

1. Using the Correct Equipment

The PUWER act ensures that all employees are protected when using the correct work equipment. The regulation covers a large expanse of work equipment and machinery and requires that employers make sure employees are fully trained and know exactly how to work the equipment.

The correct equipment must always be used for the corresponding job as problems can occur if the correct machine is not available for use. Employees may also require additional work equipment such as safety helmets, goggles and hearing protection when using certain machines and it is part of the employers’ duty to ensure the workers are provided with the correct equipment and trained to put it on correctly.

2. Maintenance of Equipment

The PUWER also states that all work equipment must be regularly inspected to check for damages or deterioration and maintained to ensure the machinery is always working correctly and safely. A maintenance log must be kept up to date to note all inspections and if any pieces of equipment have required a repair.

If a new machine has been installed, this must also receive an inspection immediately after its installation and before its first use to ensure that is in complete working order and is safe for employees to use. If the working equipment is constantly exposed to deteriorating conditions, it must be inspected to ensure any faults are identified to reduce the risk to health and safety.


Control of Risks

PUWER requires regular risk assessments to be carried out in the workplace to inspect all work equipment, identify any hazards and implement certain safety measures to ensure the machines work correctly and do not pose a health or safety risk to the workers.

A risk assessment will highlight any hazards caused by the work equipment such as noise, debris or trips and determine which safety measures should be implemented to reduce the risk of injury to the workers.

Some control measures that could be put in place may include:

  • Wearing hearing protection

  • Implementing protection devices on the machinery

  • Designating a clear safe space for machinery use to keep workers safe.


employees engagforklift training

Training in the Use of Equipment

PUWER states that all workers must be competent and fully trained on how to use the work equipment to ensure everyone is safe at all times. The training will also include how to regularly inspect the machinery to check for any risks posed to the health and safety of workers when using the equipment.

Employees must receive regular training at least every year as well as receive training for every new piece of work equipment that becomes part of their working day.

All new employees should also receive training before beginning work on the equipment and this will ensure everyone in the workplace who uses the work equipment is safe and protected.


Employers’ Responsibilities

PUWER provides guidance on the employers’ responsibilities which must be carried out in the workplace to ensure all employees are healthy and safe at work.

These responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring work equipment is suitable for use and only used for its intended purpose.

  • Carrying out regular risk assessments to assess working conditions and improve safety of the use of the equipment.

  • Making sure work equipment is regularly maintained and inspected and in good repair and keep a maintenance log up to date.

  • Ensuring all workers that use the work equipment are fully trained and provided with adequate health and safety information.

  • Machinery must be correctly installed along with their safety guards.

Employers must comply with the responsibilities addressed by PUWER and understand that regular inspections are required to keep the work equipment in good condition and safe for workers to use.



Employee Responsibilities


There are no specific responsibilities for employees under PUWER as the employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring all rules are followed. However, employees must follow the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 which requires employees to take care of themselves and others to ensure all workers are safe and protected at work.

Employees must receive the appropriate training and use their knowledge and skill to correctly use the work equipment. Employers must also report any hazards, deterioration or faults with the equipment to an employer who will make sure the issue is fixed.

Employees that have been promoted to duty holders such as managers will need to comply with the employer PUWER responsibilities.


law book

Regulation & Legislation that applies to PUWER

The PUWER act should be used in conjunction with other HSE legislations that work together to provide guidance on all parts of the workplace to create an exhaustive coverage of health and safety at work.

These current legislation that applies to PUWER include:

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

This provides rules and guidance on employers responsibilities to keep employees safe at work, especially when performing dangerous tasks.

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

Some work equipment will involve lifting tools and operations in which employers will also need to comply with this legislation that protects workers using lifting equipment.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

This legislation focuses on the risk assessments that must be carried out regularly to maintain the health and safety of all employees in the workplace.

There are also three Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) which support the PUWER regulations:

  1. Safe Use of Work Equipment.

  2. Safe Use of Power Presses.

  3. Safe Use of Woodworking Machinery.

ACOP are not law but have been given a special status to be used alongside PUWER to further establish guidance in the workplace.


Training Requirements of PUWER

PUWER states that “every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment and all employees who supervises or manages the use of work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.”

The training required by PUWER will include:

  • How to correctly and safely use the work equipment

  • How to inspect the work equipment to maintain its good condition

  • How to perform a risk assessment on the work equipment

  • How to keep a record log of all risks and inspections

  • Learn which control and safety measures can be implemented

Training must be completed by all employees who use work equipment to ensure the safety of everyone.


an engineer carrying out an inspection on some machinary

PUWER Inspection Requirements


The PUWER states that every employer must ensure all work equipment is inspected immediately after installation or assembly at a new to ensure that it has been installed correctly and is safe to operate. The PUWER also ensures that employers keep a record of each inspection.

If the work equipment is exposed to conditions that cause deterioration, the equipment must be inspected at suitable intervals and every time exceptional circumstance may jeopardise the safety of the work equipment to ensure deterioration can be fixed and the equipment maintained.




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