Use of Equipment at Work

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations came into force in December 1998 and replaced the previous regulations of the same name.

The main aims of the regulations is to provide a legal framework for the equipment used in various workplaces and also to provide legal duties associated with the provision of equipment on various bodies. Most importantly the regulations ensure that when equipment is used it is used in a safe way.

What is meant by Work Equipment?

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations define work equipment as meaning any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work (whether exclusively or not). This is a wide definition and includes things like tractors, lab equipment, machinery and even photocopiers.

The 1998 Regulations cover installations for the first time which means such things as  scaffolding, access equipment and safety devices are covered as work equipment.

The following are examples of things are not covered within the definition however:

  • Livestock
  • Private motor vehicles
  • Substances
  • Structural Items – for examples walls, roofs, stairs etc

What is meant by Use?

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations define use as meaning any activity involving work equipment and includes starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning.

This again is a wide definition and covers all activities associated with any kind of work equipment.

General Duties

Part II of the Provision and Use of Equipment Regulations provides a list of general duties which will be imposed on every employer when concerned with work equipment.



  • Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
  • How often maintenance will be required and in what form will depend on the specific equipment with the only requirement being that the performance of the machinery does not deteriorate to put a competent person at risk.


Inspections must be carried out following installation in order to verify that the equipment has been installed correctly and is safe to operate. Where a risk assessment has been carried out by a department which has identified a significant risk of injury due to the installation of specific equipment the department must arrange for a suitable inspection to be carried out by a competent person and then recorded.

Unlock this article now!


For more information on:

  • Information Instructions
  • Specific Risks
  • Training
  • Specific Duties
  • Mobile Work Equipment
  • Power Presses