It may not be the most attractive clothing, but wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is a statutory requirement and is an important preventive measure for employee safety in the workplace. PPE refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles and other garments designed to protect the body from harm, for job related occupational health and safety purposes. Employers have a responsibility to provide PPE clothing. Items such as hard hats and work gloves can be purchased at a reasonable rate on As an employee you have a legal right to a safe working environment, and also a responsibility to take reasonable care of your own health and safety, this includes wearing protective clothing when required.

Employer Responsibilities

Your employer has a responsibility to assess any risks to employees, customers, partners and any other people who could be affected by their activities in the workplace and put appropriate protective and preventative measures in place. Where risks are identified, personal protective equipment must be provided to manage this risk and safety procedures designed for its use. Employees must have access to competent health and safety advice and be consulted about their risks at work and protective measures, including adequate training. All organisations with more than five employees must have a written health and safety policy. The PPE provided to you must fit correctly and be in a good state of repair. You can refuse to wear clothing that puts you at risk because it does not fit properly.

Employee Rights

As an employee you have a legal right to work in a safe and healthy environment, this includes being provided with suitable safety equipment and clothing by your employer and having procedures in place to manage identified risks. If you feel that your workplace does not fit this description and you have reasonable concerns about your safety, you have the right to stop work and leave your work area without undergoing disciplinary action. It is important that you attempt to discuss any concerns you have regarding health and safety in the workplace with your employer to attempt to resolve these. If your employer is not complying with health and safety law, you should contact the Health and Safety Executive for further guidance.

Why it is Important to Wear PPE

In some professions, failure to utilise PPE correctly can be grounds for disciplinary action or even dismissal, not to mention a risk to your own wellbeing. Protective equipment is there for a reason, for example hard hats are used to protect the head from injury from falling or flying objects, failure to wear them can result in head trauma. PPE is considered the last line of defence in preventing workplace injury and ill health.

Taking Responsibility For Your Own Safety

Even if a task will only take a few moments to complete, if it requires PPE, it requires it for a reason. Ensure you always wear your protective clothing and take all other safety precautions.

You must ensure that PPE is properly cared for, including storing equipment in a safe, dry place. Any wear and tear must be reported so that it can be replaced promptly.

Ensure that your health and safety training is up to date and that you follow and comply with your organisation’s health and safety policies and procedures.

You must inform your employer of any medical condition that you have that could be affected by the use of the PPE you have been provided.

In accordance with the requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002, any PPE provided by your employer must be ‘CE’ marked. CE marking on a product ensures that the product conforms with the essential requirements of the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC.

Further Information

If you would like further information then a brief guide to PPE compiled by the Health and Safety Executive, including additional reading on the subject, can be found here.

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One Comment

  1. Aston_B says:

    Fashion is all about a trend requirement but safety is the essential attitude; you just cannot ignore it. I think using personal protective equipment is a very nice idea and I have always advocated the use of such useful necessity. Thanks for sharing wisdom, Glad reading this insightful article 🙂

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