PPE: Can staff bring in their own?

This is an interesting question which sometimes arises for the hundreds of clients we support across the UK.  Imagine that a new employee starts working at your business or a temporary employee becomes permanent and they already have their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Given the links back to the Health and Safety At Work Act and its requirement not to charge employees for protective equipment some staff can become confused on whether this is actually permitted.  Looking in more detail at the specific regulations covering PPE leads us to Regulation 4 of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 which states that employers have a duty to “ensure that suitable PPE is provided” to employees who need it.

Can staff bring their own PPE to work?

Looking at the above you can see that if you haven’t provided PPE that isn’t the issue but you do have to ensure that it’s correct for the job.  The key issue here relates to suitability and here are a few instances which you may like to check;

  • Safety boots provide the right slip resistance and protection – mid sole protection for example;
  • Respiratory protection is adequate and will give protection from the dusts or vapours encountered (FFP rating);
  • Eye protection is adequate (impact rating or chemical protective);
  • Hard hats are within your requirements for manufacture date (typically 3-5 years from manufacture depending on your policy.

One final thing to remember is that fake PPE is surprisingly common, particularly when individuals buy PPE from the internet at a reduced cost, and individuals are likely to be more cost sensitive.

The final choice is yours, if you’re in a higher risk industry you may wish to start afresh with issuing equipment which you know to be right for the job.  If on the other hand if you’re an occasional user of PPE you may well not need to go to the expense of issuing new equipment if an employee can bring suitable items themselves.

Don’t forget, once they do work for you you will need to pay for the supply of their PPE.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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