What you need to be compliant with PUWER
PUWER is in place to ensure that tools are maintained to a high standard of safety. HSE specifies the circumstances where inspection is required to ensure these safe conditions are maintained:
Where the safety of work equipment depends on the installation conditions, it should be inspected after installation and before first use, and after reassembly at any new site / location.
At appropriate intervals - where work equipment is exposed to conditions that could cause deterioration that is liable to result in dangerous situations.
Exceptional circumstances (major modifications, known or suspected serious damage, substantial change in the nature of use) that could jeopardise the safety of the work equipment and the people using it.
An inspection can vary in its degree and it can include:
Quick checks before the equipment is used, such as the electrical cable condition on hand-held power tools.
Weekly checks, such as the function of safety devices or presence of guarding.
Extensive examinations done every few months, such as a close examination of a safety harness.
Extensive examinations have to be carried out by a competent person. This means a person who has suitable and practical industry knowledge, as well as experience of the area or equipment he/she is assessing in order for them to find faults or weaknesses.
Once the inspection is complete, it is recommended that for more in-depth examinations, or inspections where a degree of safety is awarded, that a record is made. While not a legal requirement for quick checks, it is essential to keep track of official inspections - especially in an environment where multiple tools are being used and need to be kept track of.
Most construction companies will keep a copy of recent records, but not any past certifications, which is not an efficient way to manage the safety of your tools. Without easy access to a tool’s certification history, you risk forgetting when a tool needs inspecting, which could result in complications for you and your employees.
Without a thorough record of tool certifications, you risk liability if a lawsuit were to arise. For example, if a former employee attempts to sue you for an injury they obtained when using a tool and you don’t have a record of the tool being certified at that time, you could be liable. However, if you keep a record of tool certifications with an online tracking system, then you will be able to access these records and prove that the tool was properly certified at the time.
You should also ensure that tool certifications are up to date is because HSE are increasing their rate of inspection this year. According to the new guidelines, the level of fines will be higher and custodial sentences more likely. For large companies deemed to have more culpability, these fines could reach up to £10 million.
With this in mind, it's important to note exactly what causes tools not to be compliant with PUWER, and how to prevent these issues from occurring.
To find out more on how to manage your toolpark effectively, book a productivity analysis with us today