Work Equipment

The legislation that covers work equipment is The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The scope of work equipment is extremely wide and covers almost any equipment used at work.

Examples of work equipment include hand tools such as hammers, drilling machines, circular saws, photocopiers, microbiological safety cabinets, laboratory equipment, lifting hoists/slings, lift trucks, elevating work platforms, ladders, pressure water cleaners etc.

Examples of uses of equipment include starting/stopping equipment, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing, cleaning and transporting.

Working with machinery can cause injuries through, for example, moving parts of machinery, ejected material, sharp edges, emissions such as steam and electricity. Injuries can also occur due to lack of maintenance, experience, training or when used for another purpose than they were designed for.

To meet the requirements of the Regulations, work equipment must be suitable for use and for the purpose and conditions it will be used in, maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it continues to be safe for use and a record of the inspection kept.

The Regulations also state that where the risks cannot be eliminated, they should be controlled by: 

  • taking the appropriate ‘hardware’ measures, for example, providing suitable guards, protection devices, marking and warning devices, system control devices such as emergency stop buttons and personal protective equipment; and
  • taking the appropriate ‘software’ measures such as following safe systems of work (eg. ensuring maintenance is only performed when equipment is shut down) and providing adequate information, instruction and training about the specific equipment. 

The measures put in place may be a combination of the above and will be dependent on the work carried out, an assessment of the risks involved and the practicality of such measures.

Work Equipment Procedure

The University Work Equipment Procedure‌ outlines the requirements of the Regulations to ensure that the risks associated with work equipment are appropriately assessed and managed.

When assessing work equipment, the University should be used.

To help inform the risk assessment, the Work Equipment Checklist can be used.

Further information is available for the following:

Lifting Equipment (in development)