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Are you a purchaser of work equipment

Guidance for purchasers of work equipment.

What you must do

Employers must ensure that all work equipment they provide conforms with the essential requirements of the European Community law relating to its design and construction, and  that it is maintained to this standard. Therefore, reasonable checks for safety and health should be made when selecting and acquiring new work equipment, including checks for obvious danger (such as missing or damaged guards), CE marking and that the instructions and Declaration of Conformity (or Declaration of Incorporation) are in English.

What you should know

Although the primary responsibility for the safe design and construction of new products rests with the manufacturer or their authorised representative (also known as the responsible person), equipment users should check when purchasing new work equipment to ensure it is safe and presents no risk to health when introduced to the workplace. This requirement is set out in regulation 10 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

CE marking is only part of the overall process but, if correctly applied, it is a sign that a new product is safe and compliant, and gives a presumption of conformity to the relevant EU Directives. Purchasers should also receive appropriate documentation with the product, including user instructions and a Declaration of Conformity (unless it is partly completed machinery, in which case you should receive a Declaration of Incorporation and instructions for its incorporation). This information should be in the language of the end user, ie English in the UK.

By checking the product's compliance with the relevant Community law at the point of purchase - ensuring it is CE marked, has a Declaration of Conformity and that simple safety checks have been made before bringing it into use - purchasers can save much time and trouble, should the product later cause harm or be otherwise found unsafe.

If you find newly purchased work equipment is not safe because of the way it has been designed, constructed, supplied or installed, you should stop using it until this has been remedied. You should first make contact with the manufacturer and / or supplier (or installer if relating to the installation) to resolve the issue. Where the product is defective due to its design, construction or manner of supply, you can report this to the relevant market surveillance authority. They can investigate and may also have the statutory powers to take formal action to deal with any serious risk presented by the product.

Updated: 2013-03-11