What is a PUWER Inspection and Assessment?

PUWER stands for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. You will often see it referred to as the PUWER regulations or PUWER 98. This replaced the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992. It requires that a risk assessment is carried out and that work equipment is not putting anyone at risk.

The purpose of a PUWER inspection is to identify whether the equipment can be operated, adjusted and maintained safely and that any deterioration (for example, defect, damage, wear) can be detected and remedied before it results in unacceptable risks.

For the purposes of PUWER, machines are defined as work equipment. However, the term 'work equipment' is applied in a much broader context than to just machines. It is vital that your workplace demonstrates PUWER compliance.

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A PUWER 98 inspection of Machinery is a very different task to CE Marking of Machinery but the competencies and knowledge required are transferable. This is how Spiers Engineering Safety are able to specialise in both services to the highest standard.

Our PUWER Inspection Services

We provide ourinspection services Internationally and across the UK including London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester. These form a part of your industrial equipment safety inspections for your production and auxiliary equipment which were identified as necessary by your workplace risk assessment.

Your PUWER Report

Your work equipment and machinery will be inspected and you will receive a report with detailed PUWER risk assessments including recommended control measures based on PUWER requirements and current best practice. Our inspections will help you achieve PUWER compliance.

Provided by Machinery Safety Experts

You can have confidence in our findings as all our technical advisors are highly trained and qualified engineers with extensive experience in machinery safety and supporting technical standards.

man conducting a PUWER Inspection

Your report will include the PUWER assessments in a detailed yet simple form so that you can choose what is best to communicate to your team.

Fancy a bit of PUWER DIY?

We provide PUWER Training & Accreditation.

PUWER Software - RiskMach

Perhaps you are all about using technology to help manage, progress and track the actions from your report? Spiers are an Agent and Distributor of RiskMach so all our reports come with the benefits of cloud based systems.

RiskMach - Web Based Machine Risk Assessment Tool

Do all machines require PUWER inspections?

Generally yes, but there is a caveat. See the notes in PIPP for more details on the criteria for determining where and when PUWER 98 inspections are required.

Where this exception is used to remove an asset from the PUWER 98 inspection regime then this exception and its justification should be recorded or referenced on the PUWER register.

Spiers' machinery safety consultants will inspect your work equipment and, where we find a hazardous situation that exists due to a non compliance with PUWER regulations or related BS EN standards (best practice) we will provide a risk assessment. The inspection covers all applicable Regulations of PUWER and a visual inspection of the electrical safety of the machine.

The final report will be delivered in full and with short summaries, all indexed for ease of reference.

What records of PUWER inspection should I be keeping?

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 recomended 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 Machinery Risk Assessment then get in touch.

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 but Spiers are very experienced in this area.

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 recomend 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.

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, of which there are many, 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.

The problem with spreadsheets

Spreadsheets can offer some benefits but they are open to misuse, human error, data loss, fraud and duplication. Perhaps the biggest limitation of spreadsheets is the inability to work collaboratively. RiskMach is an excellent alternative to spreadsheets and Spiers have adopted this web based machine risk assessment tool for all our inspection and machine risk assessment records.

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