The purpose of this process is to provide a rationale for generating the PUWER register and maintaining it.

A competent person can vary the scope and intervals of the PUWER inspection based on a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. Spiers have developed a PUWER risk mapping method called “PIPP” for discriminating between work equipment allowing your organisation to prioritise resources where they are most needed based on risk.

The immediate benefit of having a formal and recorded approach to this is obvious:

  • Focus resources on risk
  • Plan resources and budgets
  • Demonstrate your arrangements and implementations to enforcement bodies if required
  • Reduce commercial risk
  • Most important, avoid the incident related knee jerk.

Incident Related Knee Jerk

"An immediate reaction to an event without thinking or examining the root cause".

Nothing really shouts 'low hanging fruit' to the enforcement authorities like a company who fail to plan for safe work equipment and suddenly move it to the top of their priority list after magically finding the will and resources following an accident, incident or notice issued by UK HSE.

The inevitable outcomes of the 'knee jerk' is a recurring cyclic spike in spending on PUWER inspection services.

This PUWER inspection is often farmed out to a third party when the organisation has neglected the internal competencies and arrangements required in order to complete these inspections in-house.

It is with this understanding that the value of PUWER Planning and Prioritisation (PIPP) can be best understood. PIPP aims to avoid the knee jerk by giving you a position to defend in the unfortunate event of an accident.

This PUWER inspection is often farmed out to a third party since the organisation has neglected the internal competencies and arrangements required in order to complete these inspections inhouse.

It is with this understanding that the value of PUWER Planning and Prioritisation (PIPP) can be best understood. PIPP aims to avoid the knee jerk by giving you a position to defend in the unfortunate event of an accident related to work equipment that occurs despite your best efforts to avoid it.

PUWER ‘98 implies that a PUWER register is required that identifies which assets require PUWER inspection and when. The PIPP process is most relevant and beneficial in this planning stage of a new PUWER ‘98 initiative where a large number of assets are to be covered by a single internal process for the purposes of meeting your statutory requirements for machine inspection.

Under what circumstances can I justify not inspecting a machine?

As explained in PIPP, when identifying what needs to be inspected, a competent person should determine by risk assessment under the management regulations if there is a significant risk to the operator or other workers from the installation or use of the work equipment.

This implies that if the risk is determined to be less than significant during the initial risk assessment under the management regulations then work equipment does not require PUWER inspection.

Note: Despite the absence of the statutory need for an inspection the rest of PUWER is still applicable.

Caution: You must provide evidence to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

Where you choose this approach to explain why not to PUWER inspect a piece of work equipment you should provide the evidence behind that decision for future scrutiny in the event of an accident. PIPP is an excellent and well thought out risk modelling method for evidencing this decision.