Personal Protective Equipment

Employers have a duty to provide their employees with personal protective equipment to use in the workplace. This is a legal requirement, and is set out in the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. This article takes a deeper look at what these regulations mean, exploring what personal protective equipment is, what an employer must provide, and what can happen if he fails to do so.

What Is Personal Protective Equipment?

Personal protective equipment (PPE) can be legally defined as: ‘all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him against one or more risks to his health and safety’.

Therefore PPE must be supplied if there is a risk to the health and safety of an employee which can only be controlled via the use of protective equipment. For example, if employees must work outside while it is still dark, high-visibility jackets will be needed.

What Does An Employer Have To Provide?

The type of protective equipment which must be provided will of course depend upon the nature of the job. In order to assess what is most suitable, an employer must carry out a risk assessment, identifying all risks and hazards in the workplace and implementing measures to control them. This will allow correct type of PPE to be selected, which can include everything from clothing to safety harnesses.

It is important to note that PPE must be given to employees free of charge, even if it cannot be returned. This extends to agency workers who are considered to be employees. The only circumstance in which an employee may be charged is if it is stated in the contract that PPE must be given back when employment is terminated. If an employee fails to return the specified piece of personal equipment, it may be possible for an employer to dock their wages to cover the cost of a replacement.

An employer must also ensure PPE is:-

  • Assessed before use;
  • Maintained and stored appropriately;
  • Used correctly by employees – this may require training, instruction and supervision.

Failure To Provide Personal Protective Equipment

An employer has a legal requirement to provide staff with PPE where and when appropriate. If there is a failure to do so, then an employer has breached their duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. This is a serious offence, and any member of staff who has concerns regarding the provision of PPE should seek guidance. This may involve speaking directly to an employer, or obtaining advice from a trade union representative or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

What If This Leads To An Accident?

If your employer neglects to provide the appropriate types of PPE and you suffer an injury as a result, you could be entitled to take legal action. A solicitor specialising in work accident claims will be able to give you more information. However, if it is found your employer was liable for the pain and suffering you experienced, you could claim compensation.

Reach work accident compensation claims experts on 0808 901 9069

If your employer fails to provide you with the personal protective equipment needed to keep you safe at work and you are then injured in a workplace accident, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

Our Work Accident Solicitors could help you claim, so call us on 0808 901 9069, or

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