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Work Place Equipment Guarding

Crushed digits, lacerated body parts, fractured bones and even death. These are the type of horrific injuries that occur every day in UK workplaces. In fact there are around a dozen deaths and 40,000 injuries each year. What is the cause of these injuries? Mechanical equipment without adequate guarding, maintenance, safe systems of work & people trained to use them.

British employers would save around 250,000 work days each year if they could just keep people safe on machinery.



The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) describe what you, as an employer, may need to do to protect your employees in the workplace.

Generally, any equipment which is used by an employee at work is covered, for example ladders, drilling machines, power presses, circular saws, lifting equipment (including lifts) and dumper trucks.

If you are an employer or self-employed person and you provide equipment for use at work, or if you have control of the use of equipment, then the Regulations will apply to you.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations(PUWER) make it  clear that any equipment used by employees at work must be suitable, maintained and inspected. Workers must also have had the necessary machine and equipment safety training. Furthermore, just as when carrying out risk assessments, the regulations state that employers should ensure that risks are eliminated where possible, or controlled as far as is reasonably practicable.


Safe Use of Machinery and Equipment


  • check the machine is well maintained and fit to be used;
  • use the machine properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • make sure employees are wearing the appropriate protective clothing and equipment;
  • ensure that those who use and maintain machinery are competent to do so safely;
  • have a procedure that allows workers to report damaged or faulty equipment.


  • use a machine that is not adequately guarded
  • remove guards from machinery or interfere with interlocks when the machine is in operation even if their presence seems to make the job more difficult
  • use a machine or appliance that has a danger sign or tag attached to it;
  • wear loose clothing, jewellery or long hair that could get caught up in moving parts;
  • distract people who are using machines;
  • use faulty or damaged equipment.

RHheadshotIf you feel like you need a little extra advice with regards to the health and safety at your workplace, or you would like to talk to us about conducting risk assessments, please contact our Health and Safety Management Team on 01302 341 344.

By Rachel Hamill – Risk Adviser

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