What Regulations Affect You?


Who says I have to inspect my equipment and keep records?

There is legislation within the EU that clearly specifies what businesses should be doing to keep people safe – no matter what industry they’re involved in. However, as with all legislation, it can be very difficult to find out what we should be doing, and how we should be doing it. The following information will help you adhere to these regulations, and understand where each of them may apply to your business. Papertrail will then help you manage this and put it all into practice in a clear and simple way.

What regulations should I be aware of?

There are five main regulations that the majority of businesses will have to consider: The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, The Personal Protective Equipment At Work Regulations 1992, PUWER and LOLER and WAHAR. Here’s what each set of regulations mean to you.


The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

At the outset this may seem fairly simple: employers and employees ensure provide and maintain systems of work that are so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health. However, this can include a lot more work than you might think. Consider that many quality management and safety management systems take as long as a year to implement. Remember: the larger and more diverse your company, the more this Act will affect you.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPE at Work)

These regulations deal with the suitability, compatibility, assessment, storage and maintenance of PPE:

Reg 4 – Provision of PPE (suitability, self-employed provided for, appropriate for risk, ergonomic, fit)

Reg 5 – Compatibility of PPE (if more than one item of PPE they must be compatible with each other)

Reg 6 – Assessment of PPE (choosing the correct PPE for the task – be aware of the vast array)

Reg 7 – Maintenance and replacement of PPE (a robust inspection system to ensure PPE continues to work for what it was designed for.  Be aware of manufacturers guidelines)

Reg 8 – Accommodation of PPE (storage and quarantine)

Reg 9 – Information, instruction and training (a systematic approach to training for use of PPE)

Reg 10 – Use of PPE (in line with manufacturers guidelines and used only after training)

Reg 11 – Reporting loss or defect of PPE (a robust system for reporting defect or loss of PPE and obtaining a replacement)

As a side note, it’s worth pointing out that PPE is really the last line of defence against hazards: what you must consider firstly is whether or not the job you’re carrying out needs to be done, and whether or not there is a safer and easier way of doing it. If not, then by all means use the PPE most appropriate for the job!

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)


PUWER ensures that equipment is kept in good order and that maintenance, training and inspection is carried out to suitable and sufficient levels. Essentially, inspections must identify whether equipment can be operated, adjusted and maintained safely and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied before it results in unacceptable risk.

Reg 4 – Suitability of Work Equipment (use the right piece of PPE for its intended task only)

Reg 5 – Maintenance (maintain equipment in an efficient state, efficient working order and in good repair)

Reg 6 – Inspection (equipment should be inspected after installation and before first use, at suitable intervals and after any exceptional circumstance to the equipment)

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

LOLER is aimed at ensuring:

  • All lifting operations are properly planned;

  • Lifting equipment is used in a safe manner; and that

  • Lifting equipment is thoroughly examined at suitable intervals by a competent person.

Reg 7

  • Certificate of Conformity (standards and information on strength etc)

  • Test certificates

  • Examination reports

Reg 8

All workers should be trained and competent in inspecting the items of equipment they are using to ensure the equipment is safe to use. This is generally accepted in the outdoor activity world as being the visual and tactile pre-use check. Pre-use check need not be recorded but evidence of training and/or competence to do them must be held by the employer.

Reg 9

LOLER requires lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined and all equipment that requires a thorough examination must be identified.

Thorough means a detailed examination by a competent* person.

Lifting equipment should be thoroughly examined before use for the first time (manufacturers CofC usually covers this).  Thereafter the item should be thoroughly examined at least every six months OR in accordance with a time interval drawn up by a competent person.

Equipment should always have a current thorough examination report.

Interim inspections should be carried out over and above pre-use checks, at suitable intervals between thorough examinations.

Reg 10

Reports of interim and thorough inspections and any defects found must be made.

Working at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (WAHAR)

These regulations deal with the requirements, selection and inspection of work equipment as well as the avoidance of risk of work at height and the duties of persons at work.

WAHR 2005 exempted people instructing lead climbing or people instructing climbing or caving; WAHAR 2007 removed this exemption.

Reg 12 – Inspection of work equipment

Staff should be able to demonstrate that inspections are taking place.

Where items are put in place to protect a climb or set up a belay it should always be checked before a load is put on it.  This doesn’t need to be recorded.

Reg 14 – Duties of persons at work

Any defects or activities that relate to work at height that may endanger safety to themselves or others must be reported.

Workers must use equipment in accordance with the instructions and their training.

What is a competent person?

A competent person within the scope of inspecting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a person with a full understanding of the potential hazards related to the equipment and the work it may be used for. A competent person with have appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of examining equipment*, will be able to detect defects or weaknesses to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the equipment, and be able to specify appropriate remedial action.

*which will generally but not always be classified as PPE and/or lifting equipment.

About Papertrail

Papertrail helps businesses comply with health and safety regulations, save time on inspections and reduce risk. To find out how Papertrail can meet your safety management needs, book your free demo.

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