Occupational Health and Safety Requirements for Use of Work Equipment1

Government of the Republic Regulation of 11 January 2000

(entered into force 24 January 2000.


This Regulation is established on the basis of subsection 5 (4) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act


Chapter 1

General Requirements


§ 1. Obligations of employers and workers

(1) The employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the work equipment made available to workers is suitable for the work to be carried out and that it is kept, by means of adequate maintenance, at a level which ensures the safe use of the equipment throughout its working life. Where it is not possible fully to ensure safety, appropriate measures shall be taken to minimise the risks.

(2) It is prohibited to alter the construction or methods of use of work equipment if, as a result of such changes, the safety of the equipment would be reduced in comparison to the safety provided by the manufacturer.

(3) In selecting the work equipment which the employer proposes to make available to workers, the employer shall pay attention to the specific nature of the work, the working conditions which exist at the workplace and the physical and mental ability of the person using the work equipment (hereinafter operator).

(4) The employer shall make sure that work equipment is used for in the intended manner and that the working movements and postures of operators at work correspond to ergonomic principles.

(5) Workers are required to inform the employer of any malfunction of work equipment or any shortcoming related thereto which becomes evident while using the equipment.

(6) The employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that operators given the task of using work equipment receive adequate training, including training on any risks which such use may entail. Training on risks shall include:

1) information on the risk of accidents and on dangerous situations which are expected or are likely to arise when using work equipment, and the conclusions to be drawn from experience of using work equipment;

2) measures to be taken to ensure the safety of the operator and other persons who have access to the working environment;

3) information on dangerous work equipment at or close to the work station;

4) information on changes in the working environment which may increase the risk engendered by the work equipment used by or close to workers;

5) instructions on how to act in the event of the risk of an accident.

(7) The employer shall prepare and approve, in written form, safety instructions for work equipment to be used, in particular observing any instructions which may have been furnished by the manufacturer.

(8) The employer shall organise special training and, where necessary, periodic in-service training for operators of pressure equipment, equipment for lifting loads, mobile work equipment and other dangerous work equipment.

(9) Instruction or training shall be repeated if the work equipment is changed or upgraded. Information concerning the instruction and training provided for workers shall be registered.

(10) The employer shall discuss the measures envisaged to comply with these requirements with the workers and working environment representatives and shall consider their proposals to prevent or reduce the risks which may arise during the use of work equipment.


Chapter 2

Requirements for Work Equipment


§ 2. Structural elements

(1) Work equipment shall be capable of withstanding the stresses to which it is subjected if used for its intended purpose.

(2) The parts of work equipment and any platforms, stairs and other areas where the operator is liable to move about or stand while at work shall be fitted with barriers to ensure safety and shall not pose a risk of slipping, tripping or falling.

(3) In order to prevent the risk of the operator being involuntarily enclosed within work equipment, the following requirements shall be met:

1) work equipment shall be fitted with a signalling device for summoning help;

2) if the equipment is fitted with a door or trap-door, it shall be possible to open the latch on the door from the inside without having to use any additional equipment;

3) any other necessary measures to prevent such risk shall be taken.


§ 3. Operating, control and warning devices

(1) Operating, control and warning devices on work equipment shall be clearly visible and correspondingly marked and their functions shall be unambiguous and easily understood.

(2) As a general rule, the operating device of work equipment shall be located outside the danger zone. The use of the operating device, both intentional and unintentional, shall not cause any additional hazard.

(3) Before starting up work equipment, the operator shall ensure that there are no exposed persons in the danger zones. If this is impossible, the automatic warning device must give a warning signal whenever the equipment is about to start. The dwell time preceding start-up shall be sufficient to allow the workers to leave the danger zone or to make use of the protective devices envisaged to prevent the risks which may arise upon the start-up or stoppage of the work equipment.

(4) It shall not be possible for work equipment to be started or stopped or its mode of operation changed inadvertently. This shall be possible only by deliberate action on a control provided for the purpose. This requirement does not apply to the normal operating cycle of an automatic device.

(5) All work equipment shall be fitted with a control to stop it completely and safely. The equipment's stop control shall have priority over the start controls to avoid errors and to prevent the work equipment from being started up by accident.

(6) The operator’s permanent work station shall be fitted with a reliable emergency stop device located in a freely accessible place to stop some or all of the work equipment so that the equipment is in a safe state. When the work equipment or a part thereof has stopped, its energy supply shall be switched off.

(7) Where work equipment is operated by two or more operators at the same time, the operating devices shall have an automatic locking function to ensure the correct sequence of operating commands. The work stations of operators who are located out of visual or hearing range of each other shall be equipped with emergency stop devices and, where necessary, with means of communication or signalling devices.

(8) The operating system of work equipment shall be safe for use. Any breakdown of or damage to the operating system shall not result in danger.

(9) Where necessary, work equipment shall be fitted with a device which automatically stops the equipment and cuts off the power supply.

(10) Where work equipment has been fitted with a warning device to warn the operator of dangerous breakdowns or safety risks, the acoustic or light signal given by the device shall be easily understandable and clearly audible or visible by the operator and shall be distinguishable from background noise and other sources of light.


§ 4. Safety devices

(1) Work equipment shall be fitted with protective guards or devices restricting access to hazard zones which prevent dangerous contact with the moving parts of the work equipment. Where work equipment is likely to present a significant source of danger, the guard shall be equipped with a locking device which halts the movements of dangerous parts when the guard is removed before the operator reaches the danger zone.

(2) Work equipment presenting risk due to projections of parts liable to rupture or disintegration, preforms being processed, processing waste or cutting tools or due to falling objects shall be fitted with protective guards where necessary.

(3) Projecting parts of work equipment which might present a risk to the workers and are not surrounded by a protective guard shall be marked with alternating yellow and black or red and white stripes.

(4) A protective guard or device shall:

1) be able to withstand the stresses to which it is subject without breaking or becoming deformed;

2) be situated at sufficient distance from the danger zone in order to prevent the workers from unintentionally entering the danger zone;

3) allow operations necessary to fit or replace parts of the work equipment and for maintenance of the equipment;

4) not restrict any more than is necessary the view of the operating zone of the work equipment.

(5) A protective guard or device shall not:

1) give rise to any additional hazard;

2) be easily removed or rendered inoperative;

3) become unusable easily.

(6) A protective guard shall, if possible, allow operations necessary for adjustment, maintenance and repair work to be performed on the work equipment without removal of the guard.

(7) Where necessary, work equipment shall be fitted with an emergency braking device to prevent the risks arising from the possible inertial reaction of the moving parts of the equipment.

(8) The operator is prohibited from disconnecting, altering or removing the safety devices of work equipment without proper authorisation.

(9) Work equipment in need of protection against the effects of lightning shall be fitted with a system for conducting the resultant electrical charges to earth.

(10) Work equipment shall be fitted with a protective device to prevent operators coming into contact with or coming too close to parts of the equipment or a product being processed the temperature of which is dangerously high or low.

(11) Work equipment shall be fitted with protective devices for protecting operators against the risk of the work equipment overheating or catching fire, and against the risk generated by discharges of gas, liquid or vapour, unless such risks are entirely prevented by other means.


§ 5. Lighting

(1) The lighting at the workplace and maintenance stations shall be sufficient for the operation or maintenance of work equipment. Localised lighting fittings shall be installed where it is not practical or possible to achieve the required intensity of light by way of ambient lighting.

(2) The type of lighting fittings and the manner of their installation shall suit the conditions of the working environment and shall not pose a danger to the workers.


§ 6. Risks caused by energy

(1) The operator shall be protected from the risk of electric shock caused by direct or indirect contact with work equipment. Protection shall be guaranteed by:

1) isolating the parts which conduct electricity, surrounding such parts with protective guards or taking measures to ensure that the operator is prevented from coming into contact with such parts;

2) installing a circuit breaker or a device for conducting electrical charges to earth;

3) installing a discharging device or conducting electrostatic charges to earth.

(2) The risks arising from energy generated from gas, steam, liquid, compressed air or other sources of power which may arise while work equipment is in operation shall be minimised.

(3) The risk of an explosion of substances produced or used while work equipment is in operation shall be precluded. For that purpose, the following shall be prevented:

1) dangerous concentrations of substances in the air which may lead to an explosion;

2) ignition of dust and gas.

(4) Work equipment with an energy supply shall have easily recognisable and accessible devices for cutting off all types of power and for discharging residual energy which may accumulate within the equipment. Additional devices for cutting off energy supply need not be installed on work equipment which is connected to the power network by way of a plug connector.

(5) Disconnection or reconnection of the energy supply or any changes in its intensity shall not result in danger.


§ 7. Use of work equipment

(1) Work equipment shall be used only for the performance of such work and under such conditions for which the equipment is prescribed. Where work equipment is used under conditions different to those prescribed, the employer shall take additional safety measures.

(2) The position and manner of installation of work equipment, the distances between its moving and immovable parts, its energy supply and the manner in which substances or preforms being processed are fed into the equipment, handled and removed from the equipment shall be such as to ensure the safety of the operator and other persons.

(3) Necessary measures shall the taken to ensure that all areas related to the use of work equipment which the operators need to access and where they are liable to move about or stand for the performance of production, adjustment or maintenance work are risk-free and safely accessible.

(4) If the construction of work equipment does not provide sufficient stability to ensure the safety of the operator, other persons or property, the equipment shall be firmly attached to the surface it is standing on by clamping or some other means.

(5) Where incorrect assembly of the parts of work equipment or the incorrect connection of pipes conducting gas, liquids or steam or electric cables may result in danger, written instructions for the correct assembly or connection thereof shall be affixed to the equipment at the appropriate place and, where necessary, the direction of the movement of such parts or substances shall be set out separately. The relevant information must also be provided in the safety instructions accompanying the equipment.

(6) The operator shall be provided with tools and measuring instruments necessary in the work process and for adjustment, maintenance and repair operations on work equipment.

(7) It shall be possible to carry out maintenance operations on work equipment when the equipment is shut down. If work equipment cannot be shut down, all appropriate protective measures shall be taken and devices used to ensure the safe conduct of such operations, preferably outside the danger zones. If any work equipment has a maintenance log, it shall be kept up to date by entering all the prescribed information on the performed operations in the log.

(8) During breaks when work equipment or its dangerous parts have been stopped, the energy supply shall, as a general rule, be switched off.

(9) Where the use of work equipment is liable to pose a hazard to the operator or harm his or her health, the employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that such equipment is used, maintained, repaired, adjusted and cleaned only by workers whose duties include such operations and who have received corresponding training.

(10) The employer shall ensure that the requirements set out in the instructions supplied by the manufacturer are complied with in the use, maintenance and adjustment of work equipment.


§ 8. Inspection of work equipment

(1) When work equipment has been installed or assembled at a work station and before it is put into service, the employer shall ensure that the equipment has been installed correctly and is operating properly.

(2) Periodic inspections or testing of work equipment shall be carried out in compliance with the requirements supplied by the manufacturer or established by legislation.

(3) Special inspections or testing of work equipment shall be carried out after accidents, occupational accidents or natural phenomena involving the equipment and after prolonged periods of inactivity or reconstruction of the equipment.

(4) The inspection specified in subsections (1)-(3) of this section shall be carried out by competent persons in compliance with the requirements established by legislation.

(5) The results of the inspection and testing of equipment shall be recorded and preserved as follows:

1) the results of inspections or testing of work equipment carried out when the equipment is put into service, the results of special inspections or testing and the decisions made on the basis thereof shall be preserved until the end of the working life of the equipment;

2) the results of the previous periodic inspection or testing shall be preserved for at least three months after the subsequent periodic inspection or testing and the recording of the results thereof.

(6) If so required by an official conducting state supervision, the results of inspections or testing of work equipment shall be presented to the official.


Chapter 3

Additional Requirements for Specific Types of Work Equipment


§ 9. Mobile work equipment

(1) Work equipment with ride-on workers (a driver, or a driver and other workers carried) shall be fitted out with protective devices to ensure safety during the journey, including devices to prevent accidental contact with, trapping by or falling under the wheels or tracks.

(2) Where an inadvertent seizure of the drive unit between an item of mobile work equipment and its accessories or anything towed might create a specific risk, such work equipment shall be equipped or adapted to prevent blockages of the drive units. Where such seizure cannot be avoided, every possible measure shall be taken to ensure the safety of workers.

(3) Where the drive units of mobile work equipment can become soiled or damaged by coming into contact with the ground, facilities shall be available for fixing them.

(4) Mobile work equipment with ride-on workers shall be designed to prevent, under actual conditions of use, the risks arising from work equipment roll-over:

1) by a protection structure to ensure that the equipment does not tilt by more than a quarter turn;

2) by a structure giving sufficient clearance around the ride-on workers in the event the equipment overturns;

3) by a structure safely restraining the ride-on workers on the seat;

4) by some other device of equivalent effect;

5) the protection structures specified in clauses 1)-4) of this subsection may constitute an integral part of the work equipment. These protection structures are not required when the work equipment is stabilised during operation or where the design makes roll-over impossible.

(5) Fork-lift trucks shall be adapted or equipped to ensure the safety of the workers carried if the fork-lift truck overturns. This means the following:

1) a guard surrounding the driving seat or another protective structure restraining the workers on the driving seat in the event the fork-lift truck overturns so as to prevent them from being crushed inside the cabin or between the fork-lift truck and the ground;

2) a structure ensuring that, if the fork-lift truck overturns, sufficient clearance remains between the ground and certain parts of the fork-lift truck for the workers carried.

(6) Self-propelled work equipment which may, in motion, engender risks for workers shall fulfil the following conditions:

1) the equipment shall have facilities for preventing unauthorised start-up;

2) it shall have appropriate facilities for minimising the consequences of a collision where there is more than one item of track-mounted work equipment in motion at the same time;

3) there shall be a device for braking and stopping equipment, and, where safety constraints so require, emergency facilities operated by readily accessible controls or automatic systems shall be available for braking and stopping equipment in the event of failure of the main facility;

4) where the driver's direct field of vision is inadequate to ensure safety, adequate auxiliary devices shall be installed to improve visibility;

5) work equipment designed for use at night shall be equipped with lighting appropriate to the work to be carried out, and with side lamps;

6) work equipment which constitutes a fire hazard, either on its own or in respect of whatever it is towing and/or carrying shall be equipped with appropriate fire-fighting appliances where such appliances are not available sufficiently nearby at the place of use;

7) remote-controlled work equipment shall have an automatic device to stop the equipment once it leaves the control range;

8) remote-controlled work equipment which may in normal conditions engender a crushing or impact hazard to workers shall have facilities to guard against this risk, unless other appropriate devices are present to control the impact risk.


§ 10. Use of mobile work equipment

(1) Mobile work equipment shall be driven only by workers who have been appropriately trained in the operation of such equipment and who hold a document certifying their right to drive.

(2) If work equipment is moving around in a work area, the appropriate traffic safety requirements shall be followed.

(3) Organisational measures shall be taken to prevent workers on foot and other persons coming within the area of operation of mobile work equipment. If work can be done properly only if workers on foot are present, appropriate measures shall be taken to prevent them from being injured by the equipment.

(4) The transport of workers on mechanically driven work equipment is authorised only where safe facilities are provided to this effect. If work is to be carried out during the journey, speeds shall be adjusted to ensure the safety of the workers carried.

(5) Work equipment with a combustion engine may not be used in working areas unless sufficient quantities of air presenting no health or safety risk to workers can be guaranteed.


§ 11. Work equipment for lifting loads

(1) When work equipment for lifting loads is installed permanently, its strength and stability during use shall be assured, having regard, in particular, to the loads to be lifted and the stress induced at the mounting or fixing point of the structures.

(2) Permanently installed work equipment shall be installed in such a way as to minimise the risk of the load drifting dangerously, being released unintentionally or falling freely.

(3) Equipment for lifting loads shall be clearly marked by means of a load plate affixed near the driver’s seat to indicate its nominal load and, where appropriate, also giving the nominal load for each working position and configuration of the equipment.

(4) Work equipment which is not designed for lifting persons shall be appropriately and clearly marked to this effect.

(5) Workers may be lifted only by work equipment and accessories prescribed for such purposes.

(6) Work equipment for lifting workers shall be equipped with suitable devices to prevent:

1) the car overturning;

2) the operator falling from the car;

3) the operator being crushed and hurt as a possible consequence of a collision.

(7) The car of lifting equipment shall be equipped with a device which, in the event of an accident, prevents the car from falling and enables the persons trapped inside to be freed.

(8) If, due to the characteristics of the site where lifting equipment is installed or due to sloping ground or other particular conditions, the risk of overturning cannot be entirely precluded by other safety measures, an enhanced safety coefficient suspension rope shall be installed. The condition of the suspension rope shall be checked daily.


§ 12. Use of work equipment for lifting loads

(1) Work equipment which is mobile or can be dismantled and which is designed for lifting loads shall be used in such a way as to ensure the stability of the work equipment during use taking into account the profile and nature of the ground.

(2) Unless required for the effective operation of the work, measures shall be taken to ensure that workers are not present under suspended loads.

(3) Loads may not be moved above unprotected workplaces occupied by workers. If work cannot be carried out properly any other way, appropriate procedures to ensure the safety of workers shall be laid down and applied.

(4) Lifting accessories shall be selected as a function of the loads to be handled, gripping points, attachment tackle and the atmospheric conditions having regard to the mode and configuration of slinging. Lifting accessory tackle shall be clearly marked in compliance with the established procedure so that operators are aware of its essential technical characteristics.

(5) Lifting accessories shall be stored in a way that ensures that they will not be damaged or degraded.

(6) When two or more items of work equipment used for lifting loads are used at the same time, the employer shall establish a procedure for co-ordination of the work of the persons operating such equipment and shall take appropriate measures to avoid collision between loads or the work equipment parts themselves.

(7) When using mobile work equipment for lifting, the employer shall take appropriate measures to prevent the equipment from tilting, overturning, moving or slipping and to verify that checks are made to ensure that these measures are executed properly.

(8) If the operator of work equipment designed for lifting loads cannot observe the full path of the load either directly or by means of auxiliary equipment providing the necessary information, a competent person shall be in communication with the operator to guide him or her and organisational measures shall be taken to prevent collisions of the load which could endanger workers.

(9) Work shall be organised in such a way that when a worker is attaching or detaching a load by hand, it can be done safely, in particular through the worker retaining direct or indirect control of the work equipment.

(10) If work equipment designed for lifting loads cannot maintain its hold on the load in the event of a complete or partial power failure, appropriate measures shall be taken to avoid exposing workers to any resultant risks.

(11) Suspended loads shall not be left without surveillance unless access to the danger zone is prevented and the load has been safely suspended and is safely held.

(12) All lifting operations shall be properly planned and appropriately supervised by the employer to protect the safety of workers.

(13) Open-air use of work equipment designed for lifting loads shall be halted when meteorological conditions deteriorate to the point of jeopardising the safe use of the equipment and exposing workers to risks.


§ 13. Implementing provisions

(1) Work equipment in use shall be brought into compliance with these requirements no later than within three years as of the entry into force of this Regulation. Work equipment to be put into service after the entry into force of this Regulation shall comply with these requirements.

(2) State supervision over compliance with these requirements shall be conducted by the Labour Inspectorate and other supervisory agencies within the limits of their competence.

(3) Clauses 1), 3) and 10) of the “Procedure for Ensuring Safety of Machinery and Equipment” approved by Government of the Republic Regulation No. 356 of 16 November 1993 (RT I 1993, 75, 1103) are amended and worded as follows:

1) “1. In order to prevent the risk of damage to health which may arise during the use of machinery or equipment, this “Procedure for Ensuring Safety of Machinery and Equipment” (hereinafter procedure) lays down the procedure for supervision to ensure the safety of machinery and equipment supplied in Estonia.”;

2) “3. This procedure is mandatory to all legal and natural persons whose areas of activity include the supply of machinery and equipment.”;

3) “10. All new equipment supplied in Estonia and equipment manufactured for own use shall comply with the basic safety requirements.”


1 Directive 89/655/EEC (OJ L 393, 30.12.1989, p. 13) of the Council of the European Communities and Directive 95/63/EC (OJ L 335, 30.12.1995, p. 28) of the Council of the European Union.



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