The legal basis in the UK
The UK has many regulations governing the maintenance of equipment and employers have a legal duty to ensure that work equipment, including storage cabinets, are kept in good order to meet those requirements.
Reasons for the purchase of a safety storage cabinet:
- Sustainable guarantee of legal security
- Duty of care for people and the enviroment
- Limitation of liability for the company and the entrepreneur
However, you will only stay legally on the safe side if you have your safety storage cabinet regularly checked for safety!
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
General duties of employers to their employees.
(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular
(a) The provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.
Care of Substance Hazardous to Health
Regulations 2002 – COSHH
Regulation 9 states that in the case of plant and equipment, including engineering controls and PPE that it is maintained in an e¨cient state, in e¨cient working order, good repair and in a clean condition. In the case of the provision of systems of work and supervision and of any other measure, it is reviewed at suitable
intervals and revised if necessary.
In addition, employers must ensure that whoever carries out maintenance examinations and tests are competent to do so. People carrying out examinations and test on control measures of which safety cabinets are, must have adequate knowledge, training and expertise in methods and techniques.
Dangerous Substances and Explosive
Atmospheres Regulations 2002 – DSEAR
DSEAR refers to maintenance throughout the regulations. The employer, having carried out all the required assessment and subsequent implementation work, should continue to ensure that the control measures they have created are maintained both in terms of hardware (plant etc) and software.
The workplace, including the location of equipment, should be designed, constructed and maintained to prevent releases of dangerous substances accumulating in su¨cient quantity that ignition could result in a fire and/or explosion or ‘other events’ that may lead to injury.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment
Regulations 1998 – PUWER
PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and inspected.
In order to ensure work equipment does not deteriorate to the extent that it may put people at risk, employers, the relevant self-employed and others in control of work equipment are required by PUWER to keep it maintained in an e¨cient state, in e¨cient order and in good repair‘.
The frequency and nature of maintenance should be determined through risk assessment, taking full account of
- the manufacturer‘s recommendations
- the intensity of use
- operating environment (such as the effect of temperature, corrosion, and weathering)
- user knowledge and experience
- the risk to health and safety from any fore seeable failure or malfunction
Maintenance on a less frequent basis than the manufacturer‘s recommendation should be subject to careful risk assessment and the reasons for doing so should be reviewed at appropriate intervals.
Maintenance work should only be undertaken by those who are competent to do the work. With high-risk or complex equipment, these demands may be significant and, in some cases, may be best undertaken by the manufacturer or specialist contractors.
There is no requirement for you to keep a maintenance log, although it is recommended for high-risk equipment. Maintenance logs can provide useful information for the future planning of maintenance, as well as informing maintenance personnel of previous action taken. However, if you have a maintenance log,
you must keep it up to date.
Improper or irregular inspection of safety-related equipment, not only risks the loss of insurance cover but also threatens your personal liability - you can be held personally responsible for damage or injury.