Safety of workplace machinery, equipment and tools

Purchase the safest workplace equipment and machinery

Buying the correct equipment for the task will greatly reduce the risks involved while carrying it out. Before you buy any work equipment, consider:

  • what the equipment will be used for
  • who will use it
  • where it will be kept
  • what training users may need to operate it
  • what risks may occur as a result

Make sure the manufacturer/supplier is clear about how you intend to use the equipment. Ask the manufacturer/supplier what the residual risks and the operating limits are. This should be part of the documentation received with the equipment.

When you're buying new equipment it's worth considering:

  • whether there are any dangerous parts and if so whether any guards are supplied with the equipment
  • how any emergency-stop buttons work
  • whether the environment in which you plan to operate the machinery is suitable for the levels of dust, fumes, noise or vibration it may cause
  • whether there are clear instructions and manuals for installation and maintenance

You must make sure that equipment:

  • is safe to use
  • is complete (eg guards and other safety equipment are not missing) unless it is supplied to be incorporated into another machine
  • is provided with clear instructions
  • carries CE marking and has a Declaration of Conformity, which shows that key health and safety standards have been met
  • produces the least possible vibration in doing the work required - information on vibration levels should be contained in the manufacturer's instruction documentation

If the equipment you're thinking of buying doesn't meet all of these rules, or you have any concerns about safety, discuss them with the manufacturer/supplier before you go any further.

Download buying new machinery guidance (PDF, 110K).

Disposing of old equipment

When dealing with old equipment, you must ensure it is safely and properly handled, stored, transported and recovered or disposed of. This is known as the duty of care for waste. There are certain laws for disposing of hazardous or electrical waste. See duty of care for business waste.

You may also consider recycling or refurbishing the equipment. Browse reuse and recycle business waste.