Whats Your Company Vehicle? A Passat? An Audi? A Skoda? No. Its Work Equipment.

by Elizabeth Withington 14/03/2016 filed under Equipment

 

What’s Your Company Vehicle? A Passat, an Audi, a Skoda?  No, it’s Work Equipment.

In the third of our series of articles looking at aspects of Health and Safety we are looking at the regulation of equipment in the workplace: the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).  These regulations cover all equipment ranging from catering food mixers and step ladders, to company vehicles and drilling rigs.

 

The regulations state that equipment provided for use at work is:

 

  • Suitable for intended use
  • Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition, and regularly inspected to ensure it is correctly installed.
  • Used only by operatives who have received adequate information, have been instructed, and who are trained.
  • Has suitable safety measures such as emergency stops.
  • Is used in accordance with any specific requirements for that particular equipment.

 

So what must you, the employer, do?

 

  • Ensure that the equipment is suitable for use.
  • Take account of the working environment when selecting suitable work equipment.
  • Ensure that the equipment is used for the purpose it was intended for.
  • Ensure that equipment is maintained in good repair and order.
  • Keep the maintenance log up to date.
  • Ensure correct installation and inspect before use.
  • Inspect the equipment regularly to ensure that faults are detected in good time.
  • Ensure that all staff using or supervising the work equipment are provided with clear information on the equipment, including health and safety information instructions on its use and warnings, including in a written form if necessary.
  • Ensure that anyone who uses or supervises the equipment is adequately trained to use it.
  • Take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.
  • Take adequate measures to prevent parts or materials from falling from, or being ejected from the work equipment.
  • Ensure that the risks from hot or cold temperatures are managed to prevent injury.
  • Provide means of isolating work equipment from all power sources.
  • Ensure work place equipment is stabilised by clamping.
  • Ensure that the equipment can be safely shut down for maintenance.

 

So how does all of this apply to a company vehicle?  How do you make sure it is suitable use so that it will it safely and legally carry the load required? Will go “off-road” if required? Is it robust enough to travel long distances?  How do you make sure it is safe to use?  Is it regularly serviced, does the driver regularly check the condition of the vehicle especially the tyres, brakes lights and steering?  How do they record these checks?  Is the operative competent to drive the vehicle? Do they have the correct licence, are they adequately trained and experienced in the size of vehicle? Is the vehicle being used appropriately?

 

At Geotechnical Engineering we comply with PUWER with respect to our company vehicles by using our experience and knowledge to provide a range of appropriate vehicles for our fleet, from cars and small vans, to 10 tonne transporters and flatbed trucks.  We carry out risk assessments for each site and select the appropriate vehicle.  We train and supervise our staff to use vehicles appropriately.  We carry out routine daily and weekly checks, including for vehicle body defects, and record them, and plan and record scheduled vehicle maintenance.  With regard to our personnel we check vehicle driving licences at the start of employment and at regular intervals and all new drivers are assessed by our Transport Manager who is a trained driving instructor.  To assist our drivers we include signage in vehicles where necessary, to inform the driver of safe working loads, vehicle safety alerts, COSHH sheets etc.

 

So how does all of this apply to company rigs?  Is the rig suitable for use?  Is it being operated outside of its user manual guidelines or should a different rig be used? Is it safe to use? Is it regularly serviced, does the lead driller regularly check the condition of the rig?  How do they record these checks? Is it compliant with LOLER?  Is the lead driller competent to operate that particular rig? Do they have the correct training and experience for that particular rig? Is the rig being used appropriately? Is it suitable to be used on a slope?

 

At Geotechnical Engineering we comply with PUWER with respect to our company rigs by a number of actions and decisions.  We use our experience and knowledge to select the correct rig for the task, whether Terrier, Pioneer, cut-down Pioneer, P45 or P60.  We take account of the working environment when selecting suitable work equipment by carrying out a risk assessment and assessing whether adaptations such as spark arrestors and Chalwyn valves are needed, the area needs venting, or to access if there a risk of overturning etc?  We ensure that the equipment is used for the purpose it was intended for by using well trained operatives who are supervised by drilling team managers and that the equipment is maintained in good repair and order by having a maintenance programme and regular rig inspections to ensure that faults are detected in good time and keep the daily maintenance log up to date.  We also ensure that all staff using or supervising the work equipment are provided with clear information on the equipment, including health and safety information instructions on its use and warnings, including in a rigorous training programme and a site specific drill brief.  To prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery we were the first drill company in the UK to install a physical guarding across all rotating parts with automatic cut off if breached and we take adequate measures to prevent parts or materials from falling from, or being ejected from the work equipment by regular checks, maintenance and PPE.  The risks from hot or cold temperatures are managed to prevent injury by safety alerts of how to prevent heat stroke in warm weather, and by the issue of warm PPE and the provision of welfare in cold weather.

 

 

 




 
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