Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998


These Regulations (PUWER 98) replace an earlier 1992 set of the same name, which implemented the Use of Work Equipment Directive.

The European Council of Ministers agreed a further directive, the Amendment of the Use of Work Equipment Directive in 1995, and PUWER 98 implements that Directive in the UK.

The Regulations also encompass the Statutory requirements associated with Mechanical Power Presses previously detailed in the Power Press Regulations.

Objectives of the Regulations

The Regulations set objectives to be achieved, rather than establish prescriptive requirements (with the exception of Mechanical Power Presses).

They simplify and clarify previous legislation using a clear set of requirements to ensure the provision of safe work equipment and its safe use.


Work Equipment - any machinery, appliance, tool or installation for use at work, whether exclusively or not.

Inspection - such visual or more rigorous inspection by a 'competent person' as is appropriate for the purpose and identified by risk assessment.

Thorough Examination - a thorough examination by a 'competent person', including testing, the nature and extent of which are appropriate for the purpose described in Regulation 32 (Power Presses).

Use - any activity involving work equipment. This includes starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning.

Danger Zone - means any zone in or around machinery in which a person is exposed to a risk to health and safety from contact with a dangerous part of machinery or a rotating stock-bar.

Main requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998:

  1. suitability
  2. maintenance
  3. use by persons given the task
  4. information
  5. training
  6. CE conformity
  7. risk reduction
  8. control improvements
  9. isolation arrangements
  10. warning

The Regulations contain specific parts for the operation and condition of Mobile Plant and Mechanical Power Presses.

Mechanical Power Presses

The Power Press Regulations 1965 (with subsequent amendment 1972) were repealed on 5th December 1998 and replaced in their entirety by Regulations 31-35 of PUWER 98. The only modification being a new requirement on the thorough examination of Enclosed Tools in their own right.

A slight change in reporting requirement meant that instead of a Prescribed Form (F2197), reports of thorough examination now have to contain Prescribed Particulars as detailed in a Schedule attached to the Regulations.

Statutory periodic thorough examination by a 'competent person' is maintained with identical frequencies i.e. 6 monthly for moving guards, 12 monthly for fixed guarded presses.

The Regulations apply to all Mechanical Power Presses incorporating a clutch and flywheel. The Regulations also detail exempted machines and situations i.e. hot work, work on non metal and specific machines such as guillotines.

There are also the Requirements of Health & Safety Executive Guidance Document HSG236 to comply with in respect of the exposure of enclosed parts and the inspection and testing of electrical supply and control systems to power presses and their guarding systems.

This Document supercedes the previous H&S Executive guidance PM79 and whilst the periodicity of exposure of internal components such as crankshaft, bearings and keys is unchanged, there are new requirements concerned with the inspection and testing of electrical systems by 'competent persons'.

SAFed (Safety Assessment Federation) has published Guidance for the Competent Person – A common approach to the Thorough Examination of Power Presses, which clarifies certain aspects of HSG 236.