Selection of Work Equipment
Safe Design, Manufacture, Assembly, Installation & Modification
The employer must ensure that work equipment is constructed or adapted so as to do its job with all foreseeable health or safety risks to any employee or other person either eliminated or minimised.
This requirement, which covers hand-held tools and free-standing apparatus right through to finished machinery requiring professional installation and plant that requires erection on site, applies in relation to equipment of any provenance, for example:
- "off-the-shelf items" where the equipment has been marketed for the purpose to which the employer will put it (including function, application, frequency of use, duration of use, etc.);
- "modified items" where the equipment has been marketed for a purpose different from any to which the employer will put it (for example, where the employer will use it more frequently or for longer periods, or apply it in an environment different from any in which it has been tested, etc.);
- "one-off items" where the equipment is bespoke to the employer's requirements, whether designed and constructed by himself or by others;
- equipment of any other provenance, for example used items auctioned by a liquidator where it is not known whether they were originally acquired as standard, modified, custom built or the like.
The requirement applies not only in selecting equipment for acquisition through purchase, lease, hire, etc, but also in selecting existing equipment for a job (for example, whenever an item of equipment originally used for one purpose by the employer is to be put to use for another purpose).
Safe in the User Environment
In selecting work equipment for a job (whether selecting from the marketplace or from his own store), the employer must assess the location and conditions in which it will be used. He must do this with the view to avoiding unacceptable workplace risks due to the introduction of equipment, for example an alternative to a petrol generator should be selected for use in an enclosed space since exhast fumes would be a hazard in such an environment.
Safe For the Job The employer must ensure that work equipment is used only for operations which, and under conditions for which, it is suitable as regards health and safety. For example, knives with unprotected blades should not be used where less hazardous cutting tools such as scissors would do the job just as well but with less risk of injury.