The main legislation on work equipment is the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations

Work equipment comes in all shapes and sizes and varies from simple tools to complex machinery.  However, even using simple equipment can be a high risk.

One of the most common injuries is a severe cut sustained while using a knife such as a “Stanley knife”- and a “Stanley knife” is quite a simple item of work equipment. However simple or complicated the work equipment, there will be safe ways to use it and unsafe ways to use it.  The safe ways of using work equipment, especially machines, are often referred to as “safe systems of work” for that equipment or machine. The following pages provide basic guidance for a range of equipment.

Before using any work equipment make sure you know the safe way to use it.  Usually this will involve asking a competent person before you use the equipment for the first time. Once you know the safe ways to use the equipment, always use it in these safe ways. In order to work safely with machines or items of equipment you have to:

  • find out what the safe system of work is for that machine or item of equipment
  • make sure you are competent in the safe system of work
  • follow the safe system of work at all times.

It is also essential to find out how to stop the machine in the event of an emergency. So far as machinery guarding is concerned, you have to find out whether the machine should be fitted with a guard. 

  • If a machine should have a guard then you should:
    • never operate the machine without the guard in place, or
    • never try to defeat the guard.
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