How safe are my machines? Part 2

how safe are my machines part 2

Asset Management Expert Paul Wood delves into safety in relation to plant & equipment and how maintaining compliance with the applicable regulations, will form a strong foundation upon which to achieve the zero-harm. The first part looks at the regulations applied during Pre-operation which you can catch up on here. This second part will consider the regulations applicable during operation.


PUWER – Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 require that equipment provided for work use is :

  • safe for its intended use
  • suitably maintained
  • used by competent and trained people
  • suitably protected from hazards i.e. guards, emergency stop devices etc.
  • used in accordance with specific requirements

To demonstrate compliance with PUWER each piece of equipment should undergo a PUWER assessment to confirm compliance with each of the applicable PUWER regulations. This will involve a paper-based documentation review and a physical inspection of the machine resulting in an action list for any areas that don’t meet requirements. The inspection should also take into account things like Machinery safety and Functional safety design requirements as laid out by UK-designated standards.

A PUWER assessment should be performed prior to first use and each time a piece of equipment is moved and reinstalled. Reassessment is also required when equipment undergoes any modifications/changes or if its intended use changes.

A useful overview of the requirements from a director’s perspective can be found in this article.

DSEAR – Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 require employers to control the risks to safety from fire, explosions, and substances corrosive to metals.

Dangerous substances are any substances used or present at work that could if not properly controlled, cause harm to people as a result of a fire or explosion or corrosion of metal. They can be found in nearly all workplaces and include such things as solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases, such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), dust from machining and sanding operations, dust from foodstuffs, pressurised gases, and substances corrosive to metal.

In order to do this, employees must:

  • find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the risks are
  • put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them
  • put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances
  • prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances
  • make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances
  • identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas

A DSEAR risk assessment should be undertaken in the applicable areas and cover the above topics. Dependent on the level of risk, it may be necessary to install equipment specially designed to operate in explosive atmospheres which will need to be ATEX compliant.

An example of how DSEAR applies in bakeries can be found here

PSSR – Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000

The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 are aimed at reducing the hazard of stored energy as a result of the failure of a pressure system or one of its components.

Pressure systems are defined as:

  • a system comprising one or more pressure vessels of rigid construction, any associated pipework and protective devices
  • the pipework with its protective devices to which a transportable pressure receptacle is, or is intended to be, connected
  • a pipeline and its protective devices

A relevant fluid is:

  • steam at any pressure (this is due to the increased safety risk presented by the scalding hazard as opposed to the pressure hazard)
  • compressed or liquified gas, including air, at a pressure greater than 0.5 bar above atmospheric pressure; pressurised hot water above 110 °C
  • a gas dissolved under pressure in a solvent (e.g. acetylene)

An important, and often misinterpreted, point is that hydraulic oils are not relevant fluids. However, where an accumulator is incorporated into the hydraulic system that stores energy, this would likely need inspecting under PSSR.

Before using any qualifying pressure equipment (new or otherwise), a written scheme of examination (WSE) must be in place, and an examination undertaken by a competent person.

LOLER – Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

The Lifting Equipment and Lifting Operations Regulations place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment:

  • All lifting operations involving lifting equipment must be properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.
  • It also requires that all equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task, suitably marked and, in many cases, subject to statutory periodic ‘thorough examination’.
  • Records must be kept of all thorough examinations and any defects found must be reported to both the person responsible for the equipment and the relevant enforcing authority.

The regulations mentioned in these two parts are a very brief summary of some of the applicable regulations which may apply in your workplace.

For further details on the above or to discuss how Finch can help support your business in ensuring it is safe and compliant, please get in touch with [email protected].

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