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Your guide to personal protective equipment

Workers on a rooftop

Your employer has a legal duty to keep their workforce “as safe as practicably possible” from the risk of accident or injury whilst at work. Preventable, serious injuries caused by accidents in the workplace often occur because of inadequate, incorrect or lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Many of the most frequent types of life-changing injuries are the result of:

  • The wrong type of safety gloves, masks or boots being worn – caused by the failure to carry out a proper risk assessment specific to the work task. The right type of PPE may also not be available to be issued.
  • Neglecting to check and maintain the condition of a safety harness – which directly caused a catastrophic or fatal accident.
  • Faulty or inadequate eye protection or ear defenders - which were unable to provide the required level of safety protection against harmful exposure.

Longer term harm and injury to health,caused by the lack of appropriate PPE, include:

  • Amputations to hands or fingers
  • Broken or crushed toes
  • Falls from height
  • Burn
  • An enduring skin irritation

As an employee, you should always be provided with the required level of protection to minimise the potential risk of suffering an accident or injury when carrying out your job. If you have suffered an injury and have reason to believe that your employer failed in their duty of care, you may decide to pursue a claim for compensation.

Your Legal Friend has an in-depth knowledge of workplace law and injury compensation and over 30 years of experience in successfully managing workplace compensation claims. We can provide you with all the expert guidance you will need to help you make your case and secure the best possible settlement. 

Employers’ responsibilities

Under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, an employer has a legal duty to ensure protective equipment is supplied and used wherever there are unavoidable risks in carrying out tasks in the workplace.

All necessary PPE should be provided free of charge and an employer cannot ask for any financial contribution to be made towards the equipment.

The Regulations require an employer to:

  • Properly assess PPE before use to ensure it is able to provide the required level of safety protection
  • Provide PPE to the correct size and fit to ensure the required protection for each individual employee
  • Provide employees with instructions on how to use the PPE correctly
  • Ensure that employees correctly and safely follow the instructions they have been given
  • Ensure that different PPE items are compatible with each other and can be worn together without reducing the full level of safety protection provided by each item
  • Ensure equipment is regularly maintained and correctly stored.

Protection for different parts of the body

PPE should always be used whenever the risk of an injury to a part of the body cannot be adequately controlled in other ways. There are specific types of equipment designed to protect you from the risk of injury to different parts of the body, including:

  • Safety helmets and hard hats, safety boots and footwear

Head and feet are at risk from falling objects, obstructions, slips and trips. Appropriate footwear should be selected for the risks identified, such as foundry or chainsaw boots. A variety of sole patterns and materials are available to help prevent slips in different conditions, including soles that are oil- or chemical-resistant, anti-static, electrically conductive or thermally insulating.

  • Gloves – different types for specific hazards

Fingers, hands and skin are at risk from corrosive substances. Special gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeves to cover part or all of the arm may be necessary when handling specific materials, substances or liquids.

  • Safety glasses and goggles

Eyes can be damaged by airborne dust, flying objects, corrosive liquids, and electrical or welding sparks.

  • Ear defenders and plugs

Ears can be affected by excessive noise levels

  • Face masks and breathing apparatus

Lungs can bedamaged by breathing in airborne dust or toxic fumes. Basic safety levels of air filtering can achieved by using face masks, respirators or extraction units. Breathing apparatus will be necessary in a confined space or where there is a lack of adequate oxygen in the work area.

However the right type of masks must be used as each is effective for only a limited range of substances and filters have only a limited life.

  • Safety harnesses

Injuries to the body may occur during falls from height

  • High-visibility clothing

            Injuries can happen as a result of being hit by a vehicle

  • Thermal and insulation suits

Unprotected bodies can suffer from extremes of heat or cold 

Has PPE failed to protect you from an injury? 

You may have good grounds to claim a failure to provide a duty of care if you’ve suffered an injury which you strongly believe was caused by the inability of your PPE equipment to protect you from:

  • Head, hand or foot injuries
  • Cuts, burns, lacerations or wounding to the body
  • Eye damage
  • Breathing in harmful dust, particles, fumes or toxins
  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and other long term industrial deafness

An employer, manager, or supervisor who says that a job will ‘only take a few minutes’ so it’s not worth bothering with PPE can put your life at risk.

How Your Legal Friend can help you

As experienced personal injury specialists, we have over 30 years of experience in managing compensation cases involving accidents at work.  We are committed to guiding you through every step of the process and ensuring that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by specialist solicitors with a record of success in this field.

Our in-depth knowledge of workplace law and injury compensation can provide you with all the expert guidance you will need to help you succeed in making your claim.  We can:

  • work with you on a guaranteed no win, no fee basis
  • help you with medical treatment, rehabilitation and your return to work
  • ensure care and support services are available for the most serious injuries
  • advise you on how to claim for DWP benefits to help you along the way
  • skilfully manage your compensation claim to include:
    • payment for the pain and suffering caused by your injury
    • any financial losses you’ve incurred already, such as lost wages, travel and medical expenses
    • any expenses you may need in the future.

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat with one of our specialist personal injury solicitors, call us now on 0808 250 7438 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.