The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) are a set of regulations that place duties on those who own, operate or control work equipment. PUWER covers a broad set of work equipment from printers to cranes, and is designed to ensure the safe use of equipment by everyone.
As we all know, forklift trucks are technically and mechanically complex and can be dangerous. All plant machinery should be treated with respect and PUWER is in place to ensure that forklifts are maintained to correct standards and that training is made available to operators.
"Work equipment" is a broad term that includes any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work. This includes equipment which employees provide for their own use at work. The use of work equipment is also very widely interpreted and '...means any activity involving work equipment and includes starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning'. So this includes kettles, trains, power tools, tractors, laptops and even juggling balls. If it's work equipment, it's covered by PUWER.What Does PUWER Require of You?
PUWER requires that forklifts and other equipment provided for use at work is:
- suitable for the intended use;
- safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and does not subsequently deteriorate;
- used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training;
- accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls. These will normally include emergency stop devices, adequate means of isolation from sources of energy, clearly visible markings and warning devices;
- used in accordance with specific requirements, for mobile work equipment and power presses.
You can find the full list of compliance requirements on theUK Legislation website
. Forklifts fall into Part iii of PUWER, because they are considered 'mobile work equipment' within these regulations. They ensure that all mobile equipment is used responsibly and safely by properly trained operators. Part iii, Section 27 has a specific clause on forklift trucks. It states:"Every employer shall ensure that a fork-lift truck to which regulation 26(3) refers and which carries an employee is adapted or equipped to reduce to as low as is reasonably practicable the risk to safety from its overturning."What Else Do You Need To Know?
In addition to PUWER, forklift operation is subject to Lifting Operations andLifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
. The regulations governing warehouse operations are designed to make your work environment a safe place to be for you and your employees.
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