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PUWER equipment breaches rise by 40% on construction sites

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) places duties on people and companies who own, operate, or have control over work equipment.

According to the Building Safety Group (BSG), there has been a 40% increase in PUWER equipment breaches occurring on construction sites during the first half of 2021.

BSG’s latest figures were obtained following 8,500 independent site inspections that were conducted between 1 January and 30 June. The 40% increase was identified when comparing Q1 with Q2 figures.

PUWER regulations are enforced by HSE inspectors during regular checks. An improvement notice will be placed on a piece of equipment if a health and safety inspector feels that it has not been subject to inspections and risk assessments detailed under PUWER.

In these instances, the inspector will tell the business owner what actions they need to take to comply with PUWER regulations and give them a period of 21 days to put these actions into place. If the actions are not followed within this period a prohibition notice will be enforced, preventing the owner from using the equipment.

BSG’s inspection report comes at a time when the HSE is increasing its focus on enforcing PUWER regulations, following concerns that the condition of some machines may have degraded due to long periods of inactivity because of COVID-19.

Andy Harper, technical support manager at BSG, said: “Businesses need to look at PUWER regulations closely and make note of what is considered ‘work equipment’ which is a ‘catch all’ term that covers any tool, appliance, or piece of machinery that could potentially pose a risk to employees.

“PUWER regulations require a competent person to periodically inspect each piece of work equipment to ensure it is fit for use, and to officially record their findings for future reference.

“With more complex pieces of machinery, instructions on how to use the equipment, alongside any potential safety issues, should be made available to all equipment users.”

Planning, BIM and Construction Today August 2021


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