If your role includes responsibility for work equipment in the workplace, then you will most likely be bowled over by the amount of legislation and regulations which exist to ensure you keep your work equipment safe (and your organisation avoiding HSE intervention!).
A common question is ‘What is the difference between PUWER & LOLER?’. Both sets of regulations are often referred to together because they do have some overlap. However, it is important to recognise that LOLER only applies to lifting equipment (e.g. a hoist, winch, crane and the lifting elements of other work equipment and accessories such as ropes, chains, webbing and shackles). In addition, LOLER includes within it's scope the ropes and related components used for safe access working systems.
In comparison, PUWER applies to all equipment but there is a decision to be made during the planning phase about whether to apply (or disapply) another Regulation on the basis that all significant risks are covered by other implmenetations.
This short article explores both regulations, explaining the difference between the two and may help inform your decision making when completing your risk assessments to determine which regulations apply and those for which you require an inspection, risk assessment or other compliance activity to be implemented.
PUWER & LOLER are both sets of Health & Safety regulations and their full titles are:
PUWER ’98 – Provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998
LOLER ‘98 – The Lifting equipment and lifting equipment regulations 1998
PUWER covers inspection, installation, maintenance and suitability of work equipment, but LOLER goes a bit further in that it covers extra requirements for lifting equipment too. For this reason it is often the case that an implementation is needed for both regulations.
LOLER places duties on people and organisations who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment – regardless of whether it is owned by them or not. Its aim is to reduce Health and Safety Risks to people using lifting equipment.
LOLER has its own ACOP Safe use of lifting equipment: Approved Code of Practice which falls under section 16 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
LOLER requires that all lifting equipment must be of adequate strength and ability and must have the correct markings to indicate the safe working load for each piece of equipment and if it is specifically used for lifting a person(s).
LOLER sets a maximum timeframe between each interval thoroughly examined—in the case of lifting equipment for lifting persons or an accessory for lifting, at least every 6 months; in the case of other lifting equipment, at least every 12 months; or in either case, in accordance with an examination scheme; and each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the lifting equipment have occurred; and if appropriate for the purpose, is inspected by a competent person at suitable intervals between thorough examinations.
Type of equipment 6 months 12 months Examination Scheme Accessory for lifting Yes Yes Equipment used to lift people Yes Yes All other lifting equipment Yes Yes
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations places duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment. PUWER also places responsibilities on businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment, whether owned by them or not.
Work equipment is classed as:
As set out in HSE guidance, this also applies to equipment which employees provide for their own use at the workplace. This means it applies to any work equipment including “starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning”.
PUWER ’98 also has its own Approved Code of Practice which is directed to employers, duty holders, managers, supervisors and anyone who has responsibility for the safe use of work equipment. It deals with a wide range of hazardous materials and working practices.
PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is:
Regulation 6 of PUWER requires that where the work equipment is exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations, it must be inspected at suitable intervals in order for any deterioration to be “detected and remedied within good time”. The findings of these inspections and any resultant actions taken must be recorded until at least the next inspection.
Inspection intervals depend on the equipment type, the associated risks and the particular work environment it is used in as this may cause more rapid deterioration. For example, equipment used outdoors may require more frequent inspection due to weather corrosion factors.
In conclusion, both sets of regulations focus on work equipment, both with their own ACOP but PUWER covers a wider range of work equipment.
Both sets of legislation apply to work equipment and can overlap in some way; depending on what equipment is used and for what purpose. LOLER expands on the requirements under PUWER, to make them more specific to lifting equipment.
Need help with PUWER? Spiers Safety provides a wide range of PUWER training which will get you up to speed on the subject – we are also proud to provide the only PUWER qualification available in the UK.
To learn more about PUWER read our Guide: The ultimate guide to PUWER