Work equipment includes any machinery, apparatus, tool for use at work. At Preservation Treatments we use hand tools, such as drills, screwdrivers, hand saws, protective equipment, lifting equipment, ladders and within the office photocopiers and computer hardware.
Different types of work equipment can pose different types of risk to the users and those in the surrounding area thus a key part of Health and Safety at Work is the process of identifying risks and putting procedures in place to minimise those risks.
1. Identify the risks from using Work Equipment
- Review how people can be harmed and decide what injury could occur.
- Ask your employees for their feedback in order to constantly monitor equipment.
- Check manufacturers instructions as this is useful in identifying hazards.
- It is important to retain maintenance records for all equipment, along with age, serial numbers, repair, maintenance logs and who uses the equipment.
- Ensure where maintenance is required that this is carried out by a competent / qualified person/company.
2. Identify who may be harmed
It is important that records list who may be harmed and what might occur, so that you can identify the best way of managing and reducing the risk, such as:
- New and young workers.
- New or expectant mothers.
- People with disabilities or existing health issues.
- Cleaners, visitors.
- Members of the public.
3. Risks and precautions required
Once the hazards have been identified you then need to decide what, if anything, you are required to do about them. The law requires that you do everything that is reasonably practicable to protect yourself and others from harm, which includes:
- Ensure that all equipment is safe to be used.
- Prevent access to, say, a property whilst timber treatment spraying is being undertaken by posting warning notices and informing prior to any treatment commencing.
- Only trained and competent staff carry out repair works / maintenance etc.
- Ensuring that personal protective equipment (PPE) such as clothing, footwear, RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment), gloves etc. are used as necessary.
- Provision of welfare facilities such as first aid and washing facilities etc.
Ladders, drills and electrical equipment are some of the equipment used by PTL and we ensure that all staff are regularly trained. It is true to say that most accidents involving ladders, in particular, happen during short periods of use. We have designated fully trained staff to check and maintain all records for Working at Height ladders/podiums, together with electrical equipment such as drills etc.
4. Record findings and implement any changes/updates
This is normally written into your Risk Assessment, which we share with all employees and this includes:
- Introducing control measures to manage all of the significant risks.
- Consider who may be involved and the harm which might come to them.
- Identifying all the potential hazards relating to the work equipment/installations.
- Demonstrate that the precautions you have taken are reasonable and therefore the residual risk is low.
There is often a need to make an action plan to deal with the control measures you have identified. It is also extremely important that our Operatives carry out their own visual risk assessment when arriving at a property, or on site, as things may well have changed since the risk assessment was first carried out.
5. Reviewing your Risk Assessment and updating when required
It is important that you constantly review your risk assessment especially when new tools/materials are implemented, or if the work situation changes i.e. people, procedures, etc.
We ensure that we constantly provide instruction and training for all employees including office staff to ensure that they are aware of the work / equipment within the workplace and the risks they present to them individually, this includes the findings of our risk assessments and all emergency procedures, we have in place.
6. Work Systems
Most activities should be detailed within your Method Statement / Risk Assessment. At Preservation Treatments we ensure that for each work activity a combined RAMS (Risk Assessment/Method Statement, which includes COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)) where applicable is available.
- Complete daily safety checks.
- Ensure that there is a fool proof reporting system to identify any faults.
- Ensure that all faulty equipment is removed from use and repaired, or replaced as soon as possible.
- Ensure that all the records of design, installation, maintenance and testing of equipment is available.
- Ensure all work equipment is regularly maintained under statutory and manufacturers requirements.