As an employer, you’ll know that ensuring your workers are issued with the appropriate PPE is not only essential for their protection, but is a legal requirement for your business. Ensuring your workers are safe and protected when carrying out their jobs, and that your business is compliant with health and safety legislation, is one of the most important things an employer can do.
However, even the most diligent employers can be caught out and face serious legal repercussions, particularly when the level of control they have over PPE within their business is overestimated. Here, we’re going to look at how you can be sure you’re supplying your workers with the best protection, and some of the ways your best efforts to maintain compliance could fall through.
Identifying your PPE needs
In order to ensure your employees are issued with the best protection for the job, it’s important to be rigorous and detail driven.
Risk Assessment – a thorough risk assessment process will highlight potentially dangerous elements of the various roles within your business, and help you to identify ways of minimising risk to employees. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stipulates that it’s important to remove danger to workers by modifying processes to eliminate potential risks first, and when this is not reasonably practicable, to then look at issuing PPE as a last resort.
Seek Professional Guidance – what’s not always clear is that many protective items are available in different grades of protection and different materials to suit various situations. Consulting a PPE advisor on exactly which sort of products are best for the roles in your business means that you can be sure that the PPE you’re issuing to your employees is going to provide the best protection and performance.
So, with a thorough risk assessment and with the aid of expert advice, you’ve identified the specific protective items of the exact type and grade that your team will need depending on the tasks they are required to complete and the risks and hazards they are likely to face.
However, regardless of how precise you are in identifying the PPE your team should have, the level of control you have over the PPE that is actually used by your employees is often underestimated.
Ensuring PPE compliance is maintained
One example to illustrate this comes from August 2014, when Hull City Council were fined £185,000 because a worker had injured themselves slipping on an ice rink without the correct footwear for the job.
In this case, risks assessments and expert advice may well have been sought, but it’s important to follow up beyond the paperwork to ensure that the required PPE has been issued to workers, and is actually being used.
There are a number of reasons why the work you’ve done to ensure compliance and safety may not be having an effect in reality:
All of these reasons can lead to your employees facing unnecessary risks to their health and wellbeing, and your business risking serious legal repercussions due to lack of compliance.
Preventing lapses in PPE compliance
In order to ensure compliance is maintained and that the risk areas above are managed, there are a number of things you can do:
Maintain PPE Compliance with Industrial Workwear
Industrial Workwear’s workwear and PPE procurement platform gives you everything you need to ensure compliance around PPE, from expert advice to source the right products through to comprehensive reporting and analysis tools. Find out more and request a demo today.