A simple guide to PUWER

PUWER – Do you know what it stands for?

Every Site Manager out there knows that it’s crucial to follow government Health & Safety regulations, but when it comes to documents such as PUWER; the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 can actually be pretty hard to get your head around, even for those with years of experience behind them.

There are plenty of acronyms in the world of Health & Safety; COSHH, DSE, DSEAR and PPE to name but a few. These can understandably be confusing, but one thing we do know is that PUWER is one acronym you can’t afford to confuse.

To help make sense of this often misinterpreted piece of Health & Safety legislation, here’s a quick and simple breakdown of everything you need to know about PUWER assessment and training to protect your workers.

What exactly is PUWER?

PUWER is a piece of legislation enforced by the British government that places a duty on employers to ensure the equipment used by their staff is safe to operate at all times. It’s not the law, but it does come under the Health & Safety at Work Act.

What does it stand for?

PUWER stands for the Prevention and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The regulations deal with the work equipment and machinery used every day in workplaces and aims to keep people safe when using equipment and machinery. If you stick to PUWER on your construction site, you will keep your employees as safe as possible, but it will ensure that you’re legally covered in an event of an on-site accident.

Who does it apply to?

PUWER regulations apply to work activities across Great Britain and cover:

  • employers
  • self-employed people and the equipment they control or use
  • those who are employed to supervise or manage the use of equipment.


The regulations focus on the equipment, the knowledge, training and the experience of the user. Equipment used should not pose an unacceptable risk to people’s Health & Safety. Employers should ask themselves questions, such as; Will it work and be safe as it is? And Will it have to be adapted in some way to ensure safety?

If you want to know more about PUWER and its requirements, it might be worth your while to do some training on the subject. Safety Media’s 30-minute interactive e-Learning course will introduce you to PUWER regulations and list examples of which equipment is covered, as well as listing the key duties placed on employers and employees. To watch a clip or download a full course description, click here.

For more information on Safety Media’s Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations course, or any of our other Health & Safety courses, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email: sales@safetymedia.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)1745 535000.





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