Plant & Equipment

All about plant and equipment

Plant and equipment- a phrase often used in health and safety circles, a loose term covering many different items used in the workplace.  Broadly speaking, this term means mechanical fixtures, fittings and tools used at work. 

A business owner/director providing equipment for use by workers must make sure that it is maintained in safe condition. 

Before you even start on setting up schedules and engaging specialist contractors, you must draw up a list of all the plant and equipment used in your organisation.  This list must state what type and frequency of inspection, servicing and maintenance is required for each item.  NB You do not need to include equipment that you hire in as this will be taken care of by the hire company.  You DO need to make sure you use a reputable hire company and don’t just borrow stuff from your “mate down the road”.

Some work equipment is subject to specific legal requirements for testing and maintenance, often carried out by external specialists. 

Whether equipment has to be tested externally or is looked after in-house, it is absolutely vital to keep records of all inspections, tests, repairs, maintenance and examinations.  If an accident or incident occurs involving work equipment, the investigation will look into the causes, including checking records to see whether the equipment was at fault in any way and a possible contributory cause of any injuries that were sustained.

The pages in this section will explain exactly what you have to do to maintain a safe workplace.


  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
  • Lifting Equipment and Lifting Operations Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

Health and Safety Myth

Maintenance company has a vested interest in misquoting health and safety legislation

A company which provides electric gate maintenance services has said that it is MANDATORY for owners of "domestic" electric gate systems to have them serviced annually, under the current Health & Safety Regulations.

There is no mandatory requirement for "domestic" owners of electric gates to have them serviced/tested annually.  It is a good idea to have regular checks carried out on the gates in accordance with manufacturers' instructions.  HSE contacted the company who claimed that annual checks were a mandatory requirement under regulations and asked them to amend their response to enquirers.

Frequently asked questions

Ask for evidence of their qualifications and experience. And check them out. If your organisation operates an Approved Supplier list, you will already have a list of fully vetted practitioners to choose from.

To be brutally honest – you should know without having to ask.  If you purchase an item which is legally required to have external inspections, you should be made aware of this by the supplier.  The two pieces of legislation referred to on the Overview page will be helpful to you here, and both come with user-friendly versions to read: Safe use of work equipment. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Approved Code of Practice and guidance - L22 ( (PUWER), and Safe use of lifting equipment. Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 - L113 ( (LOLER).  If you are unsure, you can contact for further advice.

  1. Don’t miss any such appointments – number 1 rule.
  2. COVID-19 brought about a lot of missed appointments, but this was due to exceptional circumstances. Book in an appointment as soon as possible and keep a copy of correspondence as evidence that you did your best to keep maintenance schedules on track.
  3. Take the relevant item out of service until the maintenance can take place.
  4. Never continue to operate any item of plant or equipment if you are unsure of its safety.