In the workplace, many employees may be subjected to gases, dust or other airborne hazards which means that protective equipment must be provided. This is often the case in the construction industry where workers may be exposed to harmful chemicals as well as dust and particles on a regular basis. Respiratory Protective Equipment is designed to help protect the health of employees who regularly work under these conditions and employers have a duty to provide this to anyone exposed. There are various kinds of equipment so employers must choose the appropriate type for their industry and their workers’ environment.
Disposable masks, reusable masks, respiratory breathing apparatus and powered respirators are just some of the kinds of RPE available to those who may be exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace. Employers have a duty to test the masks on the wearers to ensure they are fully protected and they must also ensure that the type of mask fits the environment and hazardous substances workers are likely to be exposed to. For example, an employee working with asbestos may need a different kind of mask from an employee exposed to dust on a daily basis. Under the health and safety act, personal protective equipment is an essential for anyone working under potentially hazardous conditions but, unfortunately, accidents have the potential to happen.
Potential consequences of failure to provide RPE
Every worker who has been given RPE equipment should wear it or they may suffer from potential health problems. In this case, the employee is failing to follow the training and use the equipment provided at their own risk. However, if you have not been given RPE and your job requires it, you may be able to make a claim if you have evidence of negligence and suffer health difficulties. Lung disorders such as asthma or COPD can be a consequence of not wearing protective breathing equipment. In severe cases, such as exposure to asbestos or silica, lung cancer has the potential to develop. Should you have a health issue due to negligence, you may be able to win compensation.
How to make your claim
Accident Advice Helpline can assist you by offering no-obligation advice regarding your injury or health issue. The claims process is relatively straightforward so remember to keep any evidence that your health problems were someone else’s fault. We operate under a no win, no fee* policy so you do not have to worry about forking out to get help with your claim for compensation.
Date Published: July 12, 2014
Author: David Brown