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PPE/Personal Protective Equipment Law


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I know it's mandatory for an employer to provide PPE, and instruct on its use, as necessary for tasks that require it. Is it actually against the law to not wear it though?
I also know that a lot of company policy insists on it (at a company rule level) but if an employee signed a risk assessment/method
statement detailing PPE use and then refused/forgot to wear it, would the employer still be responsible if there were an injury?

I cannot find a law mentioned that the actual wearing of Personal Protective Equipment is mandatory.

Edited by maffo
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I'm mixed on this, as it has become a "virtue ritual". Sure if there's a bloke a few levels up with a hammer, I'm very glad for the hat, but I don't need a hi-viz vest to get the printer ink from the quartermaster's stores.

Edited by MrPin
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22 minutes ago, maffo said:

I know it's mandatory for an employer to provide PPE, and instruct on its use, as necessary for tasks that require it. Is it actually against the law to not wear it though?
I also know that a lot of company policy insists on it (at a company rule level) but if an employee signed a risk assessment/method
statement detailing PPE use and then refused/forgot to wear it, would the employer still be responsible if there were an injury?

I cannot find a law mentioned that the actual wearing of Personal Protective Equipment is mandatory.

It is specifically prescribed within hearing protection legislation. 

At >80dBA (8hr Time weighted exposure equivalent)  employed obliged to provide suitable hearing protection

At >85dB(A) required to wear it. 

Otherwise its a legal requirement as per COSHH as a last line of resort after other practicable controls have been put in place. 

In any case legislation is irrelevant. A company can require any employee to comply with any reasonable instruction including the wearing of PPE. The company is supported by the enabling nature of HASAW. Tribunals take a dim view of employees not complying with reasonable safety instructions. 

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My understanding is that the responsibility is on the employer..  they have to prove that they did everything reasonable to ensure you were wearing it,  because they are the ones liable to end up in court.

In the old days,  if you didn't wear a safety hat,    you put your life on the line and if you got a brick on the head that was your tough luck.

Now,   if you don't wear one you can sue your employer for lots of money when a brick drops on your head,  and if you die they can end up with a year in jail.  So they will make you wear it,  and if you don't they will fire you. 

Which is why there are complaints that health and safety has gone too far,   because it is no hassle for the employer to tell you to wear six hard hats to cover their backs..  and your inconvenience is not their concern.

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You're not allowed to 'sign away your rights'.  So, even if you were happy to not wear PPE, the law would say that if you weren't wearing it then your employer would be liable for damages were something to happen.

This is actually sensible -- the obvious result of allowing a get-out would be that unscrupulous employers would 'make it clear' that everyone should be happy to not wear PPE, and thus save a bit of cash.  

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2 hours ago, dgul said:

You're not allowed to 'sign away your rights'.  So, even if you were happy to not wear PPE, the law would say that if you weren't wearing it then your employer would be liable for damages were something to happen.

  

Can you link to where this is stated in the hasawa? 

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7 hours ago, maffo said:

I know it's mandatory for an employer to provide PPE, and instruct on its use, as necessary for tasks that require it. Is it actually against the law to not wear it though?
I also know that a lot of company policy insists on it (at a company rule level) but if an employee signed a risk assessment/method
statement detailing PPE use and then refused/forgot to wear it, would the employer still be responsible if there were an injury?

I cannot find a law mentioned that the actual wearing of Personal Protective Equipment is mandatory.

Only if you can demonstrate that PPE guidance is enforced and monitored.

There are too many companies that have all the policies but don't enforce them or even actively discourage PPE usage.

On one HSE training course they went through some of incidents they had prosecuted and one was a very large corporation, cant remember which mega  brand of cola it was, with all the policies and procedures.

They went and looked into how much they had spent on PPE and found it was a tiny fraction of what you'd expect.

Things like gloves, disposable overalls and some RPE are single use. You only have to count up how many of the PPE requiring operations are performed Vs how much PPE is purchased and you get an idea he well it's use is enforced.

The law is the HASWA, you have a duty to take all reasonable steps to protect yourself, it is bot all your employers responsibility.

Edited by GBDamo
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54 minutes ago, GBDamo said:

Only if you can demonstrate that PPE guidance is enforced and monitored.

There are too many companies that have all the policies but don't enforce them or even actively discourage PPE usage.

On one HSE training course they went through some of incidents they had prosecuted and one was a very large corporation, cant remember which mega  brand of cola it was, with all the policies and procedures.

They went and looked into how much they had spent on PPE and found it was a tiny fraction of what you'd expect.

Things like gloves, disposable overalls and some RPE are single use. You only have to count up how many of the PPE requiring operations are performed Vs how much PPE is purchased and you get an idea he well it's use is enforced.

The law is the HASWA, you have a duty to take all reasonable steps to protect yourself, it is bot all your employers responsibility.

This. It's not as straight forward as saying 'it's all the employers's responsibility'.

In the event of an incident the first port of call for HSE would be things like method statements, SOPs, Risk assessments and permits to work.

They would have to be satisfied that all reasonable steps had been taken to take the need for PPE out of the work.

Whatever residual risk remained that could only be mitigated by PPE would then be looked at. Once the organisation had mitigated as much of the risk as possible, provided training on the job, supplied PPE and trained the user in its use then the operator removes the PPE and has an incident then the person will be disciplined/lose their job and the company won't be prosecuted.

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