Have you been injured because your employers have failed to provide appropriate protective equipment for you to use whilst at work? Employers have duties concerning the provision and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work and must ensure that Personal Protective Equipment is supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways.
Personal Protective Equipment should always be a last resort. It should only be used when other precautions cannot reduce the risk of injury adequately. Employers have a duty to combat the risk at the source if possible and engineering solutions such as the provision of guards on machinery should be the first priority in improving health and safety.
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The main legislation that governs Personal Protective Equipment is the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 which came into force on 1 January 1993. PPE is defined in the Regulations as "all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work which protects him against one or more risks to his health and safety". PPE, therefore, includes:-
* Safety helmets
* Eye protection
* High visibility clothing
* Safety footwear
* Safety harnesses
PPE includes waterproof, weatherproof or insulated clothing. However, it excludes ordinary working clothes and uniforms that don't specifically protect against risks to health and safety.
As well as requiring that PPE is supplied and used at work where there are risks to health and safety the Regulations also require that PPE:
* Is properly assessed before use to ensure it is suitable
* Is maintained and stored properly
* Comes with instructions on how to use it safely
* Is used correctly by employees