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 if we want to carry out our own PUWER inspections?

We understand that some organisations prefer to train their own staff to become competent in PUWER inspections.

That’s why we have a portfolio of PUWER training courses that are ideal for anyone who intends to complete PUWER inspections and PUWER Risk Assessments. These PUWER Training courses strike a balance between learning and doing by using classroom learning, practical examples and live machine inspection.

When should I complete a PUWER inspection?

The inspection should be completed prior to machines being brought in to use for the first time. For larger installations with prolonged commissioning periods this can be difficult to define. An inspection should be carried out on relevant machinery before its first use and at regular intervals thereafter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do our machines need a PUWER inspection?

Generally yes. If machinery you own does not require PUWER, it will need justifying and referencing on the PUWER register.

Spiers have developed a PUWER risk mapping method called PIPP (PUWER inspection, planning and prioritisation) for discriminating between work equipment allowing your organisation to prioritise resources where they are most needed depending on the level of risk. This will help you to:

  • - Prioritise and focus resources on risks
  • - Help plan resources and budget
  • - Convey you arrangements and implementations to enforcement bodies if required
  • - Reduce overall commercial risk

When should I complete a PUWER inspection?

PUWER 98 is a statutory inspection and records must be held for the most recent inspection at all times. There is no set format for these records.

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.

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 themv and Spiers can help you develop these for in house use.

Machinery Risk Assessment and Close Out

Spiers will provide you with the reasonable support you need to close out your PUWER assessments. This can involve remote support via phone calls, emails, conference calls and web meetings. In some cases return visits to site may also be appropriate in order to verify the control measures have been correctly applied for a PUWER risk assessment.

Spiers provide all clients with a hard copy of the PUWER risk assessments but you can also take advantage of the free license on RiskMach that is issued with most PUWER inspection work.

RiskMach - PUWER Inspection and Machine Risk Assessment Online

Spiers have partnered up with Sotersoft to provide our clients with RiskMach, a web based machine risk assessment tool giving our customers a unique after service that no other provider can match.

RiskMach supports the closeout of machine risk assessments by allowing for each one to be accessed through a single web page and closed out with supporting evidence. It is quick, simple and auditable.

The reports generated by RiskMach can be used to support the closeout of machine risk assessments, or the management reporting can be used to track progress of the risk assessment closeout against the company objectives.

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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Machine hazards will be identified and ready to action

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