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The Basic PPE FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions - Part two

12 October 2015

The Basic PPE FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions - Part two

What about Storing for PPE - who is responsible for this?
Where PPE is provided, adequate storage facilities for PPE must be provided for when it is not in use, unless the employee may take PPE away from the workplace (e.g. footwear or clothing).
Accommodation may be simple (e.g. pegs for waterproof clothing or safety helmets) and it need not be fixed (e.g. a case for safety glasses or a container in a vehicle).
Storage should be adequate to protect the PPE from contamination, loss, damage, damp or sunlight.
Where PPE may become contaminated during use, storage should be separate from any storage provided for ordinary clothing.

I lost or broke my PPE what do I do?
If you lose or break your PPE you must contact your supervisor immediately. When considering arrangements for providing replacement PPE it must be remembered that unless a task requiring PPE can be stopped, avoided or delayed until new PPE is obtained, replacement PPE must always be readily available. If PPE was lost or broken due to horseplay or carelessness, its replacement costs can be negotiated between the employer and employee. However, regardless of these arrangements, it is still management responsibility to ensure the provision of correct PPE when required.

The supply and provision of PPE is the responsibility of the employer, and then what are the duties of employees?
Employees should take reasonable steps to ensure that PPE provided is properly used. 
Employees' responsibilities include: 

  • PPE must be worn and used in accordance with the instructions provided to them.
  • Employees must take all reasonable steps to ensure that PPE is returned to the accommodation provided for it after it has been used (unless the employee may take PPE away from the workplace e.g. footwear or clothing).
  • PPE must be examined before use. Any loss or obvious defect must be immediately reported to their supervisor.
  • Employees must take reasonable care for any PPE provided to them and not carry out any maintenance unless trained and authorised.

We often have contractors' onsite, whose responsibility is it to provide and ensure they wear PPE?
Contractors, including those who are self-employed, have a duty to obtain and use the appropriate PPE wherever there is a risk to their health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled by alternative measures. The only exception to this is for those who are classified as self-employed for tax reasons, but who otherwise work in an employee - employer relationship. In this case it will be for the employer to provide suitable PPE.
If you contract or sub-contract anyone then you are responsible for their safety. If they have no PPE then you should request they cease work until they are properly equipped or you may provide them with sufficient and correct PPE so they may complete the task.

We sometimes have volunteers and unpaid workers onsite, do we need to give them PPE?
Yes. The 2002 amendment to the HSE act provided protection to volunteers, persons on the job training/work experience and employees on loan (You could also include visitors). They should be given PPE when and where required. You are responsible for their health and safety while they are on your worksite.

…Where a worksite has significant hazards that could result in harm to an employee, the employer must provide suitable protective equipment and/or suitable personal protective clothing at NO COST to the employee…