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How to use tool tracking and asset management to manage your tool compliance

tool tracking

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) places duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment. The guidelines state that this equipment must be suitable and safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and inspected regularly to ensure it doesn’t deteriorate. 

While the majority of companies adhere to these regulations as best they can, many are falling behind when it comes to managing their assets to ensure they are fully compliant. As your company grows and your range of equipment increases, it is essential that you implement an efficient system that will allow you to track and manage your tools in terms of:

 

  • Who is using them and their location

  • Where any damages occur and repairs are needed

  • When an inspection is due

Legally, keeping track of these isn’t a requirement, however they can benefit the company in the event of lawsuits, as well as keeping cost parameters low. By implementing a management system that can track these things properly, you reduce the risk of tools not complying with PUWER.

What you need to be compliant with PUWER

PUWER is in place to ensure that tools are maintained to a high standard of safety. HSE specifies the circumstances where inspection is required to ensure these safe conditions are maintained:

  • Where the safety of work equipment depends on the installation conditions, it should be inspected after installation and before first use, and after reassembly at any new site / location. 

  • At appropriate intervals - where work equipment is exposed to conditions that could cause deterioration that is liable to result in dangerous situations.

  • Exceptional circumstances (major modifications, known or suspected serious damage, substantial change in the nature of use) that could jeopardise the safety of the work equipment and the people using it.

An inspection can vary in its degree and it can include:

  • Quick checks before the equipment is used, such as the electrical cable condition on hand-held power tools.

  • Weekly checks, such as the function of safety devices or presence of guarding.

  • Extensive examinations done every few months, such as a close examination of a safety harness.

Extensive examinations have to be carried out by a competent person. This means a person who has suitable and practical industry knowledge, as well as experience of the area or equipment he/she is assessing in order for them to find faults or weaknesses.

Once the inspection is complete, it is recommended that for more in-depth examinations, or inspections where a degree of safety is awarded, that a record is made. While not a legal requirement for quick checks, it is essential to keep track of official inspections - especially in an environment where multiple tools are being used and need to be kept track of. 

Most construction companies will keep a copy of recent records, but not any past certifications, which is not an efficient way to manage the safety of your tools. Without easy access to a tool’s certification history, you risk forgetting when a tool needs inspecting, which could result in complications for you and your employees. 

Without a thorough record of tool certifications, you risk liability if a lawsuit were to arise. For example, if a former employee attempts to sue you for an injury they obtained when using a tool  and you don’t have a record of the tool being certified at that time, you could be liable. However, if you keep a record of tool certifications with an online tracking system, then you will be able to access these records and prove that the tool was properly certified at the time.

You should also ensure that tool certifications are up to date is because HSE are increasing their rate of inspection this year. According to the new guidelines, the level of fines will be higher and custodial sentences more likely. For large companies deemed to have more culpability, these fines could reach up to £10 million.

With this in mind, it's important to note exactly what causes tools not to be compliant with PUWER, and how to prevent these issues from occurring.

To find out more on how to manage your toolpark effectively, book a productivity analysis with us today

What would cause tools to not be compliant with PUWER?

There are a number of reasons why a tool would fail to be compliant with PUWER:

 

  1. Adaptations that have been made to the tool have deemed it too dangerous for use. 

  2. The person tasked with maintenance of the tool isn’t certified or qualified. 

  3. Maintenance records are not satisfactory or have been ignored, resulting in the misuse of damaged or dangerous equipment.

What are the implications?

Non-compliant tools can lead to a number of implications for your business including:

  • Cost

Non-compliant tools could be expensive in the long run as they may need repairing or replacing. This can often involve hidden costs, which can come as a surprise and perhaps lead to delays on site. On top of this, potential lawsuits due to faulty equipment can be extremely expensive and could result in further damage through lost business.

  • Reputation

If your company repeatedly fails inspections, it doesn’t give off a great impression to potential customers and contractors. Not only this, the use of non-compliant tools is unsafe and could lead to injury, which would hold you liable and be further damaging to your reputation.

  • Productivity

Non-compliant tools are detrimental to productivity: from employee morale, to cost, and unnecessary downtime, all of which has a negative impact on business. It is essential to ensure tools are fully compliant in order to avoid these unnecessary costs and lost time.

How can I prevent this from happening? 

There are a number of ways to prevent your tools becoming non-compliant. 

  • Use modern equipment with the latest safety technology to reduce the number of tools failing inspection.

  • Dedicate time and resources to follow up on and execute inspections (this can be a human resource or an asset management system)

  • Embrace the digitisation of tool management to keep track of all your tools online.

By implementing a digital asset management system, you will be able to track damages and repairs (including the cost) and keep equipment safely up to date - in one easy online space.

 

How does an asset management system help this?

HSE guidelines suggest that in terms of managing equipment, a good management system can: 

  1. Help you identify problem areas.

  2. Help you decide what actions you should take.

  3. Check that the action you have taken has been effective. 

Hilti’s ON!Track Asset Management system addresses each of these three areas. Our digital system allows you to manage a tools’ whereabouts and status while on site, and keep track of all old and current certifications. It will also alert you of any upcoming examinations when you set tools up in the system. ON!Track allows our customers to set multiple different alerts for the same tool at a time that they see fit.This will enable you to remain compliant, by storing all the information you need incase of surprise audits or any attempts to sue your organisation.  

The online system will allow you to track productivity through how well tools are being utilised. This will give you an understanding of which tools are performing well, which need more attention and which need removing from the site - avoiding any risk of non-compliance and keeping productivity at an all time high. 

To find out how a digital asset management system can help improve productivity and compliance in your business, you can request a productivity analysis here, where you can learn how to best manage your assets: from how to properly maintain your tools to keeping track of your certifications. 

We understand that the jump to digital management can be overwhelming - that’s why we have dedicated Productivity Experts that will take into account any worries you have about going digital, your financial situation and any other concerns you may have regarding making your business fully compliant. 

Each productivity analysis is tailored directly for your business and your needs.

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