PUWER equipment breaches increase by 40% on construction sites

bigstock-Construction-Supervisor-1862412

The Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported 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 1st January and 30th June. The 40% increase was identified when comparing Q1 with Q2 figures.

PUWER stands for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (1999 in Northern Ireland). These regulations will cover all equipment and machinery used every day in workplaces. Put simply, the PUWER Regulations aim to make working life safer for everyone using and coming into contact with machinery and equipment, by ensuring that all equipment is:

  • suitable for its intended purpose
  • regularly maintained to ensure safety
  • only used by people who have received adequate training
  • inspected by a competent worker.

PUWER regulations are enforced by HSE inspectors during regular checks. If an inspection finds that equipment has not been subject to the inspections and risk assessments detailed under PUWER, a business will be given an improvement notice with actions and 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 because of long periods of inactivity due to COVID-19. This can lead to equipment corrosion and possible seizure, putting workers at greater risk.

Russell Barnard, Product Manager at SG World commented: “PUWER regulations require a competent person to periodically inspect each piece of work equipment to ensure it is fit for use as well as frequent checks to ensure equipment is maintained in a safe condition. Pre-use safety inspections help companies fulfil their regulatory safety responsibilities under PUWER and other H&S legislation.” Visit the SG World website or more information on H&S legislation and pre-use safety inspections.

Previous article Permits to Work and Isolation
Next article DfE Updates Statutory Safeguarding and Child Protection Guidance