The purpose of PUWER assessment is to identify whether work equipment can be operated, adjusted and maintained safely, with any deterioration detected and remedied before it results in a health and safety risk. Not all work equipment needs formal inspection to ensure safety and, in many cases, a quick visual check before use will be sufficient. However, inspection is necessary for any equipment where significant risks to health and safety may arise from incorrect installation, reinstallation, deterioration or any other circumstances. The need for inspection and inspection frequencies should be determined through risk assessment. Vaporline can help create a PUWER Safety Strategy to ensure this is done well.
When is a PUWER assessment (inspection) required?
A PUWER inspection is part of standard risk assessment procedures on plant, machinery or factory sites, or anywhere where work equipment is in use. If work equipment has not been assessed for some time, is newly installed, or has never been inspected, then it is important to ensure that a qualified PUWER inspection is undertaken as soon as possible.
PUWER – the law
Companies are required to inspect industrial machines prior to first use and at suitable intervals thereafter, as detailed in The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER 1998). The regulation is managed by the Health and Safety Agency, who require inspections to be carried out by competent persons. In practise, this means by an engineer with experience in the field and who has attended an approved City & Guilds PUWER training course. Vaporline inspectors are certified PUWER trained and have extensive industrial and inspection experience.
It is very important to ensure that such inspections are carried out in a timely manner and that any reported risks are remediated. Failure to do so can lead to prosecution following safety accidents.
A PUWER safety strategy
Many industrial sites have complex processes involving the use of many different machines, all at various stages of their usage life and requiring differing safety inspection routines and procedures. It is useful for such sites to develop a safety strategy, which creates procedures for ensuring that hazards are minimised going forwards, that inspections are properly timetabled and remediation work planned and programmed. Vaporline will work with you to create and adjust your safety strategy to ensure PUWER compliance and manage safety risks better. The output of this work is the PUWER Safety Strategy which brings together all of the knowledge about risks, assets and safety issues at your site and guides you through the steps that follow.
What does a PUWER inspection or initial assessment do?
When work equipment is first assessed, risks to safety are identified and logged and a risk assessment value is placed against each one, together with proposals to remove or lessen the risk. (Remediation.)
Ongoing inspection reviews the results of the remediation work and ensures that safety procedures and facilities are being maintained.
Who can assess PUWER risks?
The HSE defines this as a ‘competent person’ – this means engineers who have completed relevant training and certification and who are knowledgeable in implementing the HSE Approved Code of Practise and Guidance for PUWER – the Safe Use of Work Equipment.
How often is PUWER inspection required?
This varies according to the requirements of the site and the equipment used.
Quick checks before use (eg electric cable condition on hand-held power tools, functional testing of brakes, lights on mobile machinery) can be done on a routine basis.
Weekly checks (eg presence of guarding, function of safety devices, tyre pressures, and the condition of windows, mirrors and CCTV on mobile plant) are used in some locations.
More extensive examinations, undertaken every few months or longer (eg general condition of a ladder, close examination of a safety harness, portable appliance testing) are undertaken at sites with large numbers of pieces of equipment requiring inspection.
How is information about PUWER managed?
Vaporline use a powerful app onsite to record all equipment requiring PUWER assessment and inspection. This enables risk assessment and risk values to be assigned to each safety issue in situ and risk data is then swiftly available to the customer from the secure cloud. This allows tables to be generated that show equipment in order of risk and the creation of work programmes to fix safety items. In addition, a complete PUWER report of the site, plant or equipment containing multiple devices can easily be issued, to help create permanent records for the any future HSE examination.
Vaporline stores all PUWER-related inspection data generated by the app in a secure cloud environment, with access restricted to approved Vaporline and customer staff only.
How is a PUWER inspection carried out?
A Vaporline PUWER field engineer will visit the equipment location to examine all safety aspects of the machine, against the HSE code checklist of 70 compliance issues regarded as important in evaluating safety risks. These include issues such as ability to safely stop the equipment, adequate guarding, protection, skills and training of users, safety documentation and evidence of certification and correct usage. Data on these and any risks are recorded onsite in the app and lead to a PUWER Assessment Report, which lists any safety risks or hazards, their risk levels and requirements for remediation.
Each risk or hazard is separately identified, coded and assessed on a scale from low to high. This data can be used to determine the level of urgency for remediation work.
Monitoring PUWER risk over time
A safety strategy leads to long term PUWER risk monitoring. Each machine can develop a series of reports over time showing any changes in assessed hazard levels and remediation history, which can be used to inform managers and engineers of likely issues and to prioritise inspections for particular machines. They also serve as evidence in any Health and Safety inspection.
Vaporline offers risk profiles to industrial customers that show the levels of safety risk assessment over time and the results of remediation.
A Workplace Risk Assessment
Once workplace assets have been risk assessed under PUWER, a thorough Workplace Risk Assessment (WRA) can be created, which catalogues risks and their remediation paths, identifies all areas of ongoing risk and helps to develop future risk assessment and management strategies. This document is a key outcome for PUWER inspection work.
The PUWER asset catalogue
Regular PUWER inspections will build up a PUWER asset catalogue, listing details of every device or machine requiring risk assessment, historical risk profiles, details of any remediation work and set times for future inspections. The catalogue backs up the WRA (see above) with reliable data about all assets in the work environment, factory or location(s).
How can we help you with your PUWER needs?
Vaporline provides accredited PUWER inspection for machinery, equipment, conveyors etc, in a wide range of industrial and commercial settings.
We can take on any project, small or large. Customers take advantage of our powerful app-driven, cloud hosted data gathering, inspection and reporting software, that helps you to manage your safety environment better and to a high professional and monitored standard.
Going forwards, Vaporline can offer a complete solution to all PUWER requirements, including initial consultancy, project management, definition of the safety management strategy and routines and the regular inspection services to support them.
Get in touch to discuss your PUWER inspection requirements.