Equipment & Engineering Safety
This page provides an outline of the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and describes what we may need to do to protect people in the workplace.
Equipment and the law
PUWER requires that 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
The provision of suitable training and instructions are a crucial part of equipment and engineering safety. All processes must consider the need for user training and for documented safe working procedures (standard operating procedures). Your risk assessment should consider training requirements following your implementation of the hierarchy or risk control (e.g. removal of significant risk or mitigating such risk through physical controls) for equipment.
Note: Safe use of Emery Tape
There are occasions where the use of emery tape is desired for polishing or cleaning an item on a lathe or other rotating equipment. There are many well documented dangers associated with this practice and it is the University's policy that use of emery tape is only ever considered where there are no other reasonable options and if so, use clearly follows the HSE's information sheet on "The use of emery cloth on metalworking lathes". For computer numerically controlled (CNC) Lathes Emery cloth should NEVER be applied directly by hand or by use of a backing board or similar holding device.
Producing / Assembling Equipment
Many degree programmes and research projects will involve the assembly of components, and the modifying or creating of specialist equipment to perform a particular function. The law around such equipment can be complex, though a basic requirement is the need to consider, through risk assessment, the controls and safeguards you will establish in order to ensure there are no significant risks to the user or others (e.g. mechanical or electrical risk, UV exposure, etc). Further information on essential health and safety requirements can be found here.
What equipment is covered by the Regulations?
Generally, every item of equipment at the University is covered, for example hammers, knives, ladders, drilling machines, power presses, circular saws, photocopiers, lifting equipment (including lifts), equipment assembled or made specifically for a project, and even motor vehicles.
Similarly, if the University allows people to provide their own equipment then it will also be covered by PUWER and you will need to make sure it complies, is safe and suitable.
- Work Equipment & Machinery Guidance
- HSE: Equipment Publication List
- HSE Information
- Laboratory Equipment
- Purchasing Equipment
- CE Marking
- Second-Hand Equipment
- Filtered/Local Extraction Systems