Health & Safety – when is equipment covered by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations?

legal_updates

In many cases this is clear cut and the vast array of tools and equipment around the workshop and offices will fall into this category.

Author: David Combes
Published:
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 13 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

It is a requirement under Health and Safety law to provide and maintain the equipment necessary for an employee to carry out his work.

In many cases this is clear cut and the vast array of tools and equipment around the workshop and offices will fall into this category. 

In some cases, however, it is not so clear. What about a particular ‘pet’ tool an employee brings in because he/she always finds it useful to do a particular job, eg a pocket knife or say, a block of wood to go under a jack?  Alternatively, when you do ‘off site’ work, what if a customer supplies a trolley jack or another specialist tool?

The question was considered in a recent appeal case (Smith v Northamptonshire County Council 2009 UKHL 27).  In that case it related to a County Council employee using a ramp supplied by the NHS previously at a persons home in order to assist access from the home to a minibus.  The employee damaged her foot when the ramp collapsed.  Because the council had not provided the ramp, nor had responsibility, or a right to repair it, then it was held that is should not be liable for the upkeep and repair of it.  The Court went on to say that the Regulations applied if the employees use of the equipment was known to or authorised by the employer and the employer could assess the equipment and reasonably instruct the employee not to use it.

In the cases above much depends on the regularity of use and how much the use is ‘seen’ by the business owners/managers.

David Combes

In remeberance of David Combes 1948 – 2020

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.