In 2017/18 there were 144 fatal injuries to workers in Great Britain and 155,000 non-fatal injuries.
The worker fatal injury rate in construction is over 3 times the average rate across all industries.
As an employer, you have duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work.
PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work.
It can include items such as;
It also includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE).
Making the workplace safe encourages your employees to work safely and responsibly, and includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to those employees.
Even where controls and safe systems of work have been integrated, some hazards may remain.
These may be to:
PPE is needed in these cases to reduce the risk.
2. What Do You Have To Do?
As an employer, you should assess the risks to health and safety from exposure to the hazards within the workplace.
As with any risk assessment, whoever is carrying out the assessment should be competent, and have the necessary knowledge to do so.
You should ask yourself the following questions:
Who is exposed and to what?
How long are they exposed for?
How much are they exposed to?
If, for example, there is a risk of objects falling from above then a safety helmet or hard hat should be worn.
If there is a risk of crushing, then safety boots should be worn to guard against broken toes.
You must choose the equipment carefully and ensure employees are trained to use it properly and know how to detect and report any faults.
Make sure, for example, users are aware of how to remove gloves without contaminating their skin.
Explain why PPE is needed, when to use it and what it’s limitations are.
Choose equipment that suits the user, considering aspects such as the size, fit and weight of the PPE.
If possible, try to get the user involved in choosing it as they will be more likely to use it.
Remember that if more than one item of PPE is worn at the same time, make sure they can be used together.
All new PPE must be CE marked; suppliers should be able to advise you.
The CE mark signifies that the PPE satisfies certain basic, minimum safety requirements.
3. Can You Charge For PPE?
As an employer, you cannot charge employees for their PPE, whether it is returnable or not.
This includes agency workers, if they are legally regarded as employees.
4. Other Advice on PPE
Never allow exemptions from wearing PPE, even for those jobs that ‘only take a few minutes'.
Check with your supplier on what PPE is appropriate – explain the job to the supplier.
If in doubt, seek further advice from a specialist adviser.
Employees must make proper use of their PPE and as the employer, you should provide proper storage facilities when it is not being used (such as a clean, dry store-room or cupboard).
Employees should report any loss, destruction or any fault in their PPE.
PPE should be kept clean and in good repair, always follow the manufacturers maintenance schedule.
Simple maintenance can be carried out by the trained employee, but more detailed repairs should only ever be done by specialists.
Replacement parts for PPE should match the original. It is also necessary to ensure that suitable replacement PPE is always readily available.
Monitor and review
Check regularly that PPE is being used. If it isn’t, find out why not
Safety signs can be a useful reminder that PPE should be worn
Take note of any changes in equipment, materials and methods – you may need to update what you provide
This information is for general purposes only, does not constitute legal, financial or professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances.
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