Costs for PPE-related Accidents Each Year!

The PPE Regulations 1992, Regulation 4 states:

‘Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work, except where and to the extent that, such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective’.

This means in practice that PPE should only be used as a last resort but can be used in conjunction with other control measures. The PPE Regulations 1992 are supplemented by PPE requirements in other regulations such as those relating to asbestos, lead, noise and hazardous chemicals.

The PPE Regulations 1992 also require you make sure that:

  • The PPE is assessed for suitability.
  • It is compatible with other types of PPE that is also needed.
  • It is properly maintained and cleaned.
  • Accommodation e.g. a locker or bag, is provided for it to prevent damage or contamination.
  • Training is provided for your staff so that they know how to wear the PPE, any restrictions on use and how it protects them.

By virtue of Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, no charge can be made to your staff for the provision of PPE which is used only at work, so you need to provide this for them.

Why PPE Fails and What You Must Do 

Even though PPE is provided, accidents still happen. This is because:

  • The wrong PPE is provided and does not protect the worker e.g. a respirator for dust is      provided when the hazard is a vapour.
  • The worker does not wear the PPE, maybe because it’s not comfortable.
  • The PPE does fit properly.
  • The PPE is not compatible with other types of PPE.
  • The PPE is broken or poorly maintained.

You should:

  • Properly assess your PPE and make sure it’s suitable.
  • Choose good quality products which are CE marked.
  • Choose equipment that suits the wearer and is comfortable – consider the size, fit and weight.
  • Instruct and train people on how to use it.
  • Supervise people and never allow exemptions for those jobs that only ‘take a few minutes’.

It’s very easy to think that once PPE is provided, the job is done – in practice, it’s only just begun. Take action now to prevent PPE accidents in your workplace.

If you need advice, contact us


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