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Machinery sellers `are risking prosecution`

02 November, 2010

Many companies are risking prosecution and heavy penalties by failing to comply with the requirements of the Puwer (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) when disposing of unwanted equipment, a safety consultant is warning.

According to Laidler Associates, companies often assume that if they are selling (or otherwise disposing of) work equipment, it is the responsibility of the person or organisation that acquires the equipment to take care of the Puwer requirements. But this is not the whole story.

While the new owner of the equipment must carry out a Puwer inspection before putting it into service, the former owner also has a legal obligation to supply evidence of the last Puwer inspection before the transfer of ownership. Regulation 6 of Puwer also states that this evidence must be physical – that is, in printed form. Non-physical evidence, such as a verbal assurance or an email message, is not acceptable.

“When you dispose of an item of work equipment, it’s all too easy to assume that it’s the end of the story,” warns Paul Laidler of Laidler Associates (above), “but the reality of the situation is rather different. If you haven’t provided the correct documentation with the equipment and someone is injured using it, you could find yourself facing prosecution, months or even years after you disposed of it.

“The same rules apply even if you send the equipment for scrapping,” he adds. “Puwer talks only about equipment ‘leaving the undertaking’ – it doesn’t make any doesn’t make exceptions for particular circumstances, such as sending equipment to be scrapped.”

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