Employers must not charge for personal protective equipment
Undoubtedly, personal protective equipment (PPE) has helped to prevent countless employees from suffering personal injury in the workplace. Whether minimising risk via safety helmets, suitable goggles, or chemical suits, PPE is often an essential part of any business.
Although there is nothing more precious than human life, I regularly hear stories about individuals who have been harmed during an accident at work – and these injuries might have been prevented if duty-holders simply provided adequate PPE.
I can understand that these are troubling economic times, but after implementing additional methods to prevent staff members from suffering personal injury, managers must supply appropriate PPE when hazards still remain – even if these items are expensive.
However, when a company attempts to recoup the cost of PPE by charging employees, this practice is not only wrong – it is illegal.
According to Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, “No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions.”
Although that statement is self explanatory, it has been reported that some building firms may have introduced vending machines which provide employees with PPE.
Allegedly, the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) know of at least one company which uses these dispensers – and have urged the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to prevent other organisations from following suit.
If these vending machines charge employees for potentially lifesaving equipment, then this could be an illegal and inappropriate way to reduce risk. Furthermore, Regulation 4 of The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states that PPE must be capable of fitting the wearer correctly. If employees are not given the opportunity to try these items on, then the apparel could be ineffective.
If the UCATT’s claims are correct, then companies who use these vending machines could be breaking the law and putting the lives of their employees at risk. Hopefully, the HSE will step in and quickly remove these dispensers from workplaces.