Are you a user of work equipment

Basic information about the roles and responsibilities of users of work equipment.

What you must do

You must select and install equipment properly, use it carefully and make sure it is maintained to protect the health and safety of yourself, employees and others who may be affected by the way you use it. Sensible risk assessment is the key, following manufacturer's recommendations for use and maintenance, and ensuring employees are trained and competent. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure new work equipment complies with the relevant legal requirements for safe design and construction. You must not use, or permit the use of, unsafe work equipment.

What you should know

Nearly all equipment used at work is subject to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER guidance), which place duties on employers, the relevant self-employed and those who control work equipment. If you are self-employed and your work poses no risk to the health and safety of others, then health and safety law may not apply to you. HSE has guidance to help you understand if the law applies. Work equipment may also be subject to more specific legislation, for example:

  • the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
  • the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

In addition to the general requirements applicable to most work equipment, PUWER covers in particular:

  • the risks from riding on and controlling mobile work equipment
  • operator visibility
  • protection from falling objects and from rolling over
  • restraint systems (seat belts, etc)
  • inspection/thorough examination of power presses

PUWER is supported by four Approved Codes of Practice; a general one on the Regulations, two on specific types of machinery (woodworking and power presses) and one on rider operated lift trucks (Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training and safe use. Approved Code of Practice and guidance L117. The ACOPs give practical guidance and set out the minimum standards for compliance. LOLER is supported by its own ACOP.

If you find new work equipment is not safe because of the way it has been designed, constructed, supplied or installed then you should stop using it until this has been remedied. You should first make contact with the manufacturer and supplier (or installer, if relating to the installation) to get the issue resolved. Where the product is defective due to its design or construction, you can report this to the relevant market surveillance authority. They may have the statutory powers necessary to take formal action and resolve the matter.

Is this page useful?

Updated: 2023-09-12