The law you need to know: Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 – ‘PUWER’
The above Regulations outline that your Employer should ensure that all work equipment is maintained:
- In an efficient state
- In efficient working order
- In good repair
There is no express Regulation which states that your Employer must keep a maintenance log book BUT if they do have one it MUST be kept up to date!
The above rules provide very wide protection to Employee’s. The protection which is provided to you, the Employee, is irrespective of any efforts made by your Employer to implement effect inspection, maintenance or repair systems.
We have stated above that work equipment should be maintained in an ‘efficient’ state. Be aware that the term ‘efficient’ relates to the actual condition of the equipment and how it may affect health and safety NOT the productivity of the equipment.
When carrying out a risk assessment, your Employer should take the following steps:
- Eliminating risks
- Taking physical measures to control risks e.g. guards
- Implementing measures to deal with risks e.g. following safe systems of work, providing instruction and training as appropriate.
The above steps should be taken in the order that they are listed – if a risk could be eliminated it should be!
If your job role within the work place is to actually carry out the maintenance and risk assessments then your Employer should take the appropriate measures to ensure that you can carry out your role without risk to your health or safety. If a piece of machinery needs to be shut down to be inspected, this should be done, so far as is reasonably practical. If it is not practical to completely shut the apparatus down, then measures should be taken to ensure the power, speed or movement is limited thus reducing the risk to you.
Your Employer should ensure that adequate training is provided to ensure that all maintenance and servicing of work equipment is carried out in a safe manner and that all work equipment is maintained to a suitable and sufficient standard!