Safety of workplace machinery, equipment and tools

Types of work equipment in safety law

Employers are legally required to ensure that all equipment supplied and used for work purposes is safe and does not pose a long-term hazard or risk to employee health. This doesn't just mean equipment used in manufacturing, agriculture, construction, forestry or quarries - the rules apply equally to other workplaces, from offices, shops and hotels to engineering or car repair services.

Employers are also required to ensure that those using equipment have enough knowledge and training to use it safely.

The regulations cover a wide range of equipment and affect businesses in many industry sectors, including the following:

  • manufacturing - including welding tools, production lines, furnaces, machine tools, circular saws, power presses and lifting equipment
  • building and construction - items such as hand-held power tools, ladders, hammers, drills, knives and screwdrivers
  • offices - items such as computers and photocopiers
  • workplace and off-road vehicles - including dumper and forklift trucks, tractors, rail and road haulage vehicles

Equipment with moving parts and some kind of drive unit is normally known as machinery. Download buying new machinery guidance (PDF, 110K).