There are many hazards involved in the use of workplace equipment. For example:
- cutting equipment could cause trapping or amputation of limbs if there are insufficient safeguards
- a forklift truck could roll over, causing crush injuries
- equipment that uses heat, such as ovens, grills and welding equipment, could cause injuries ranging from minor scalding to disfigurement and serious burns
- equipment that emits very bright light, such as lasers or sources of ultraviolet light, could cause damage to skin or eyes
- equipment that transmits vibrations into the hand or arm (HAV), or whole body (WBV), such as grinding equipment or tractors, could cause long-term illness or disability
- equipment where people have to work in confined spaces, such as a storage tank, where the space is at risk from developing an unbreathable atmosphere and/or filling up quickly with noxious fumes or other substances
Assess the risks
Your risk assessment needs to assess the likelihood of such hazards occurring. Look at risks which occur not just during the normal operation of the equipment but also during installation, maintenance, repairs, breakdowns and servicing.
Remember that you have responsibilities for equipment if you're running an office, shop or hotel - the law isn't just for factories, warehouses and building sites.
Everyone who uses equipment should undergo initial training before using the equipment, attend regular refresher courses, and be provided with appropriate safety equipment. You should consider whether any specific groups of users might be at risk, young people for example.
There may be additional risks due to the way in which a piece of equipment is powered or heated, such as electricity and gas. Download an electrical safety guide (PDF, 113K).