What is PUWER?

PUWER stands for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

A PUWER inspection can help identify any defective or damaged machinery you may have and how to maintain your machinery safely and effectively going forward.

Our skilled Machine Safety Engineers have over 30 year’s combined experience in carrying out PUWER inspections on a global scale. Spiers Engineering Safety take pride in their inspection work, ensuring your machines are safe to use.

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If you would like some more detailed information on PUWER, click here to download your 'Who is your PUWER dutyholder?'

What arrangements should I have in place to manage PUWER Inspections?

1) PUWER 98 Register

PUWER 98 implies that a PUWER register is required, that identifies which assets require inspection and when. For anyone trying to achieve accreditation for ISO 18001 this is an absolute requirement. The PUWER 98 Inspection register and services related to creating and managing it are covered further under PUWER 98 Inspection Planning and Prioritisation (PIPP).

2) Competency

Competency for PUWER 98, Machine Risk Assessment and current best practice such as BS EN standards is essential. People with the right knowledge and experience in proportion to the risk and complexity of the task at hand, will provide the best results. You must be able to demonstrate their competency, whomever you are using to complete them.

3) Records of PUWER Inspection

You should have a record of some sort as evidence that inspections are completed. These records may include or link to supporting records such as a PUWER checklist but this is not a legal requirement.

It is recommended that at least the following information is included in the records of an inspection:

  • (a) information on the type and model of equipment;
  • (b) any identification mark or number that it has;
  • (c) its normal location;
  • (d) the date that the inspection was carried out;
  • (e) who carried out the inspection;
  • *(f) any faults; and/or
  • (g) any action taken;
  • (h) to whom the faults have been reported;
  • (i) the date when repairs or other necessary actions were carried out.

* The faults and proposed actions are included as a part of a proper risk assessment. If you would like to learn more about Machine Risk Assessment then get in touch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a PUWER checklist I can use?

Yes, there are many PUWER checklists, a couple of which have propagated more than others over time. None of them are official 'PUWER 98 checklists'. If you choose to use one of these then you should understand their purpose and limitations.

A checklist is simply one way of evidencing that a given scope of inspection has been covered. Another way is to provide your inspectors with suitable training and guidance prior to the inspection and keep records of this for reference. Spiers do not recommend their use unless the person completing the inspection and the checklist has received the proper skills and experience required to wield it. Of course, if you have those skills and experience then why would you need to fill in a checklist?

There is no single PUWER 98 checklist to fit all scenarios. Often in trying to choose an absolute answer to a question that is not applicable, the inspector loses sight of the purpose of a PUWER inspection (i.e. to identify whether the equipment can be operated, adjusted and maintained safely). The 'box ticking' mentality kicks in devaluing the process, and our experience shows that these checklists are commonly relied upon during top down management system implementations.

That said, if you really want to use checklists then there are ways of making the most out of them and Spiers can help you develop these for in house use.

Inspection Records: Why bother?

Records of these inspections must be held. There is no required format for this inspection record so you can adapt it to suit your systems of work.

PUWER inspection records can include a checklist proforma, along with any supporting machinery risk assessments. Since it is normally the machine risk assessment that details the fault and the proposed actions, they should be closely monitored following your inspection to ensure that each PUWER assessment is actioned in good time.

Failure to action the results of PUWER risk assessments in good time can result in embarrassment during an audit or possibly injury due to a fault on the machine.

Closing out PUWER risk assessments is a very simple task in theory. However, when the task is large the records supporting the fact that the control measures were implemented are often missing or incomplete.

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