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Between 2019 and 2020 it is estimated by the Health and Safety Executive that over 693,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury at work.

This figure demonstrates an upward trend in employees sustaining injuries at work in recent years. It is apparent that workplaces, therefore, require better health and safety procedures and more importantly, better training on the use of equipment within the workplace to prevent such injuries.

In order to protect workers, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, better known to lawyers as ‘PUWER’, were formed under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA). The main focus of the regulations is to ensure that work equipment does not cause the user any harm. The regulations apply to all workplaces subject to the HSWA.

The Courts have emphasised the need to train employees in the safe use of work equipment. Regulation 8(1) states, “every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have available to them adequate health and safety information and, where appropriate, written instructions pertaining to the use of the work equipment.”

The above demonstrates that the employer must properly assess, not only, their employee but also the work equipment itself. It is not adequate practice to take the word of the employee at face value and rely on the employee’s experience to see them through the usage of work equipment.

Instead, employers must train employees on an ongoing basis and if there are any changes in the risks arising from changes to their work, equipment or technology then further training must be given.

This view was further substantiated by the decision in Allison v London Underground Ltd [2008] EXCA Civ 71 where the court held that when considering possible breaches of PUWER the standard of training provided by employers for health and safety purposes must take into account what the employer ought to have known about the risks of the activities being undertaken by the employee – as revealed by “suitable and sufficient” risk assessments created under the HSWA.

All employers that provide work equipment have a duty to ensure, “That all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.” This can be found at regulation 9(1) of PUWER.

And, “Every employer shall ensure that any of his employees who supervises or manages the use of work equipment has received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.” This can be found at regulation 9(2) of PUWER.

If an employer fails to comply with the above regulations, then they may be held responsible for an employee’s injuries under said regulations. Usually employers have procedures in place which employees should follow when using equipment.

If an employee does injure themselves whilst using work equipment and wishes to make a personal injury claim, then they should check that they have reported their accident to their manager. They should also make sure the accident is recorded in the accident book which their employer will keep on site. It is also usually helpful for the employee to take pictures of their injuries and also take pictures of the equipment that caused their accident. It is at this point written statements would be taken from any witnesses of the accident to assess what the usual training in the employee’s place of work consists of.

The more evidence that can be supplied to suggest that the employee was not adequately trained, the better.

If you think you have suffered injury as a result of work equipment or inadequate workplace training, then please contact us on 0800 988 8082 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you. 

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