What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is all the equipment a worker needs to wear or use to protect them from risks to their health and safety. This includes respirators and masks, safety boots, overalls, goggles (or other eye protection), ear defenders, safety helmets, gloves, harnesses and clothing for adverse weather conditions.


What is the purpose of PPE?

It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure there are robust health and safety protocols in place to protect staff from harm. In some instances the only way to ensure this is by providing staff with appropriate PPE. 

Peace of mind #ForEveryWorker

This is especially important as we continue to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, with concerns posed not only around PPE non-compliance in hospitals but the use of PPE in hospitality, retail, transport and industrial sectors too.


Is it a legal requirement to wear PPE?

Employers have a duty of care to their staff, which extends to the provision and use of PPE at work. The Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018 enforces the appropriate supply of PPE by employers to employees, while the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 highlights the employer’s responsibility to ensure PPE is used, assessed, maintained and stored correctly.


What are the risks posed by PPE non-compliance?

There are many different types of injuries which can be caused by a worker having no PPE or inappropriate PPE.

Obvious injuries would include lacerations or amputations where safety gloves or safety boots are not worn, head injuries or brain injuries caused by lack of a safety helmet and catastrophic injuries caused by a faulty harness.

It is not just accidents which can occur as a result of a lack of appropriate PPE though; industrial diseases are also commonly caused by a lack of PPE.

Our specialist workplace accident specialists have dealt with many claims in the past for the following industrial diseases which could have been prevented if workers had been provided with appropriate PPE:

  • asbestos-related diseases
  • industrial deafness
  • occupational asthma
  • occupational dermatitis
  • vibration white finger

There are also many other accidents and illnesses which can be caused as a result of having no appropriate PPE. To find out if you have a valid claim for compensation contact us on 08000 224 224 for legal advice.


Will I have to purchase my own PPE to use at work?

Regulations state that all PPE necessary should be provided free of charge by your employer as it is an employer's duty to keep their employees safe whilst at work. Employers cannot ask for any financial contribution to be made towards the PPE by their employee.


How do I make an employer PPE claim?

If you have been injured at work and your injury was caused or made worse by the lack of PPE you may be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation. Our lawyers are there for every injured worker - find out more about how we can support you by visiting our For Every Worker Injured campaign page.