Risk Assessment Work Equipment

The term ‘work equipment’ covers the wide variety of tools used in a workplace, from machinery to hand tools to computers. The use or misuse of work equipment are common causes of accidents, so it is important to undertake a risk assessment of all the work equipment used on your premises.

Legal requirements

If an employee or volunteer is injured on your premises, you may need to show that you have met your duty of care. You may also have to comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. 
Under these requirements, equipment must be:
  • Suitable for its intended use
  • Safe for use, being properly maintained and inspected (if appropriate)
  • Used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction, and training in its use
  • Provided with any necessary safeguards and controls
Other regulations may also apply where work equipment is used in certain circumstances. 

Common hazards

Here are examples of some hazards to be aware of:
  • Using equipment incorrectly e.g. using a chair to stand on
  • Broken or damaged equipment
  • Moving parts of machinery
  • Parts of equipment that become dangerously hot or cold
  • Electrical faults on powered equipment
  • Adjusting equipment when still in use or not switched off
  • Inadequate information or training for those operating or using equipment
  • Equipment left where anyone can access it
  • Unauthorised alterations to equipment
  • Inadequate lighting

Precautionary advice

  • Use equipment properly and not when there is adverse weather
  • Provide adequate lighting where work equipment is in use
  • Make sure all safeguards are in place
  • Carry-out checks before equipment is used
  • Enforce procedures to remove damaged work equipment quickly
  • Provide adequate training for anyone using work equipment
  • Remove keys from equipment when not being used
  • Store equipment securely
  • Inspect equipment for wear or damage before use
  • Keep equipment well-maintained
  • Provide PPE

Conducting a risk assessment

1. Identify and document what work equipment you have in your premises and for what it is used

2. Check the precautions you have taken are adequate. If not identify any additional ones that are needed and who will be responsible for implementing them

3. Ensure that the precautions you have identified are taken and remain effective, including any maintenance and servicing that may be required 

4. Ensure that employees and volunteers know how to use work equipment safely. Document any information or training that is provided

5. Document all your arrangements and responsibilities for using work equipment and review them from time to time