Safety of workplace machinery, equipment and tools

Work equipment safety - your legal duties


You must ensure work equipment is safe under:

  • the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)
  • the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations.

In particular equipment must be:

  • suitable for the job 
  • maintained to keep it safe at all times
  • inspected at suitable intervals if wear and tear might cause risks
  • inspected before first use if the equipment's safety depends on how it was set up
  • assessed for levels of noise and vibration operators and others are exposed to

There are also further duties if you buy machinery. See purchase the safest workplace equipment and machinery.

You'll need to assess the risks of using the equipment as part of your overall health and safety risk assessment. See health and safety risk assessment.

If your risk assessment highlights any potential problems, you must make sure you minimise these risks. You may need to:

  • remove the risk or change the item to a safer one
  • provide suitable protective guards, emergency stop buttons and warning notices
  • develop new work processes or find other ways to limit regular exposure to high noise and vibration levels
  • minimise risks by introducing instruction manuals, training and refresher courses
  • provide suitable personal protective equipment

The rules also cover mobile work equipment such as dumper trucks and forklift vehicles.

You must make sure that you minimise risks for passengers, drivers and anyone near the vehicle. This may involve fitting seat belts, exterior lights and warning alarms that can be heard outside the vehicle. Download a guide to managing vehicle safety in the workplace (PDF, 374K).