PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment, can only prevent accidents at work if it is well maintained, suitable for the job at hand, and fitted to match the wearer’s individual requirements.
In other words, if you are wearing PPE that is unsuitable for the work in hand, poorly maintained or ill-fitting, work injuries may be sustained in spite of it being worn.
Examples of unsuitable PPE
If, for instance, you are given a pair of goggles to do a welding job that would typically require wearing of a welding helmet covering your entire face, you could end up sustaining facial injuries if a welding accident was to occur. In a similar manner, noisy working environments require different types of hearing protection, depending on the level of noise present. Wearing ear plugs in an environment where full ear protectors (ear muffs) are necessary, for instance, would do very little to prevent sustaining injuries likely to cause temporary or permanent industrial deafness.
Example of ill-fitting PPE
Some jobs, like grinding, for example, may require workers to wear PPE with full length sleeves to prevent sparks or flying debris causing accidental injury to their arms. If the protective clothing does not fit the wearer properly, workplace accidents may occur. For example, sleeves too short could result in burns, cuts or bruises, while too loose or long sleeves may cause workplace injuries by getting caught in moving parts of machinery in use.
Example of poorly maintained PPE
Faulty or poorly maintained respiratory protection equipment, including masks and breathing apparatus, could result in workers being exposed to the risk of developing industrial illnesses due to exposure to harmful fumes, dust or gases.
Employers and PPE
Employers have a duty of care towards their employees. This includes provision of suitable, well-maintained and well-fitted PPE, as well as training in the use thereof. Should an employer breach this duty by providing unsuitable, ill-fitting or faulty PPE, or no PPE at all, workers injured by otherwise preventable work accidents could claim for work injury compensation.
Your right as an employee
In other words, if you develop a work-related illness or sustain an injury at work because of your employer’s breach of duty, you should call Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 for advice and assistance in claiming for industrial injury compensation. Doing so will not only ease the financial burden your personal injury is likely to place on you and your family, it may also help to prevent similar industrial accidents in your place of work in the future.
Date Published: July 22, 2015
Author: Accident Advice