Every year there are accidents from using work equipment, including machinery. Many are serious and some are fatal.
Using well-maintained equipment, operated by trained staff, can help prevent accidents.
Work equipment is any machinery, appliance or tool used at work and includes:
- water boilers
- patient handling aids
- medical devices (for example, patient hoist, scalpel or syringe)
Some medical devices are exempt from health and safety legislation. For example, it does not apply to patient medical care devices, dressings and endoscopes.
Get more information on medical devices in the medical devices and equipment management policy
Distributors, agents and retailers must supply safe and compliant products.
Products should have:
- CE mark (showing the product is fit for purpose)
- a declaration of conformity
- user instructions written in English
Medical devices sold or used in Ireland must be licensed by an EU-competent authority. For example, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) which provides its CE mark.
Electrical hazards associated with electrical equipment may include:
- electric shock
- burns sustained from accidental electrical contact
- fires caused by overheating or ignition of explosive atmospheres
Faulty electrical equipment must never be used and must be labelled as faulty.
Equipment maintenance and statutory inspections
Statutory inspections are checks, inspections or tests specified in a statutory instrument (act or regulation that is legally required).
Some work equipment falls under this remit. There are specific requirements based on the type and use of equipment.
Examples include (non-exhaustive list):
- ceiling track hoists
- patients hoists
- lifting equipment
- fork lift trucks
- tail lifts
It is important to know the types of work equipment in the statutory inspection category within your service. Guidance on statutory inspections from the State Claims Agency (SCA) includes a reference tool and scheduling tool. These documents outline the various pieces of equipment and timeframe for inspection to be completed.
You should contact your local estates department to support this work. Some of the equipment may fall under their statutory inspection schedule.
Managers are responsible for:
- completing a risk assessment of work equipment
- life cycle of the equipment (from adoption to disposal of equipment)
- ensuring maintenance and servicing of equipment is carried out by a competent service
- keeping records of maintenance checks, testing and servicing
- ensuring electrical installations are maintained by a competent person and checked regularly
- removing faulty equipment immediately and labelling as faulty
- ensuring socket outlets are not overloaded with adapters
- developing a maintenance programme to ensure equipment is kept in good repair
Employees are responsible for:
- using equipment in accordance with manufacturers' instructions
- checking equipment before use and only to use equipment that is safe
- reporting any defects with equipment to the manager
- undertaking training on the use of the equipment
- reporting incidents, accidents and near- misses to your manager immediately