Many workplaces require staff to wear clothing designed to keep them safe such as gloves, hard hats and high visibility jackets. In workplaces where the environment can be hazardous, it’s essential that staff wear appropriate clothing, but who is responsible for ensuring that protective gear is worn by workers? Read on to find out.
Safety Clothing and the Law
Since 1992 employers have been required to provide employees with necessary safety clothing by law. This should be provided free of charge and be the approved safety clothing needed for any particular job. It is the employer’s responsibility to make safety clothing available for all employees and employees should not be required to purchase safety clothing themselves. The only instance where an employee may be required to pay for safety clothing is if they take it without consent after ending their employment with the company. When an employee contract is drawn up, it should include clauses surrounding safety clothing including how it should be returned when employment ends.
What Safety Clothing should be provided by the Employer?
The safety clothing that an employer needs to provide will depend on the type of business and should be included as part of the company health and safety assessment. Some workplaces may require the use of hard hats, work boots or heat resistant gloves and the necessity for correct safety clothing should be made clear to any employee at the start of their service.
Employees are responsible for Wearing Safety Clothing
Although employers must provide employees with the correct safety clothing, as long as all the correct training has been carried out it is the responsibility of the employee to wear the required items. In general, an accident or incident will lead to an investigation and if an employee is found to have disregarded safety procedure they can be held liable. Similarly, if an employer has not provided the right equipment or training, carried out appropriate and regular health and safety training and included the correct signage and warnings around the workplace, they could end up taking full liability for an accident.
Advice for Employers
As an employer you need to protect yourself and your staff, so make sure you keep up to date with the latest health and safety legislation, provide regular training for employees and supply them with the appropriate protective clothing for the job they are carrying out. Make sure warning and instruction signs are clear and visible and carry out spot checks to ensure your staff are wearing protective gear whenever they should be.
Advice for Employees
Anyone working in a hazardous environment should ensure that they understand what protective clothing they need to wear and have been properly trained to use potentially dangerous equipment. As an employee you should always consider your safety and the safety of others in everything you do as a momentary lapse could lead to a lot of trouble. Never be tempted to do your job without the protective clothing you need as if an accident occurs and you are found to have been negligent, you’ll find it very difficult to get compensation and could even end up losing your job.
I’m a fifty something technical director with a passion for the food industry and blogging.
I’m happily married with two grown up daughters.