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PPE requirements information

  1. Feb 3, 2012 #1
    hi i seem to be finding it difficult to understand the legal terminology and understand what im actually reading, i work in an industry that requires me to wear ear protection, protective footwear and eye protection.

    The Ear protection is provided and meets all Health and safety criteria etc, the footwear however, each year we get a catalogue to browse through and get told to pick from a selection which is suitable for our needs, my question is that we get a £40 subsidy and if the boots come to more than that we have to pay the short fall from our wages, now i know alot of people will say "well stick to the budget and problem solved", but because we need to have metal free boots, with reinforced insole there isnt much in that category and we all seem to be paying extra ourselves, now i found this comment on a few sites and i understand this to mean i shouldnt have to contribute towards my ppe!? im just wondering if someone could explain it a little bit better.

    Who should pay for PPE?
    If items of Personal Protective Equipment are required they must be provided free of charge by the employer.

    The second question is Safety eyewear does anyone know where i can find specifics regarding what is suitable protection and who is responsible for providing it, for people who wear prescription eyewear, i cannot wear the silly little goggles they provide over my glasses as well as other ppe i need. And they dont seem to want to give in and buy me prescription safety specs.

    Any help will be much appreciated on this thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2012 #2


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    On eyewear, goggles can be worn over glasses, so if you need goggles, they aren't obligated to provide prescription lenses. That would be something you'd have to choose out of pocket in consultation with an optometrist whether your prescription can be made into goggles (or safety glasses if they're sufficient for you).

    As for the rest of your PPE, it likely depnds on which country you live in. I'm pretty sure that in the US, your employer should cover the expense (though, if they don't, save receipts as tax deductions as unreimbursed uniform expenses). I have no idea at all about other countries.

    You should find the least expensive shoes that fit your requirements and talk to your boss about it. Show them that you aren't going crazy choosing something outrageous, just their minimum requirements, and that they don't pay enough to cover it. Get everyone who works with you to stick together and refuse to pay out of pocket for safety equipment.
  4. Feb 3, 2012 #3


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    From the home page of the OP's web link, this appears to be about Scotland, which has a diffferent legal system from England, but quite likely health and safety law is the same since much of it comes from the the EU.

    In that case the Health and Safety at Work acts says the employer is required to mean "the full cost" of protective equipment to comply with the legislation. However there may be an issue of what constitutes acceptable equipment.

    For footwear this seems fairly strainghtforward, i.e. if you have an allowance of £40 and are required to buy your own footwear, you could presumably ask your employer to find you a supplier within that price range. The "catalogue" you mentioned must be published by somebody, and presumably comes with a price list! But the only requirement is that the footwear gives adequate protection,. not that it also looks good, is comfortable to wear, etc.

    The eye protection + spectacles could be more problematic, unless your employer has a policy on the vision requirements for doing the work. If so, your employer should pay for an NHS eye test or equivalent to find if you meet the requirements, plus the cost of corrective spectacles if you don't - though you could reasonably be expected to pay the excess charge for anything beyond "basic NHS standard" lenses and frames. That eyesight test would presumably provide medical evidence as to whether you can or cannot wear eye protection over the spectacles. On the other hand if your employer doesn't have any formally agreed policy on eyesight requirements, this could get messier, because you would probably have to get a standard for the work agreed first, before you can be assessed against it.

    FWIW my own (large) employer in England has its own contract with one of the large safety footwear suppliers. About once a year the supplier parks a large truck in the car park, which is effectively a mobile warehouse and fitting room. People requiring footwear are issued with an authorization ticket as to what grade of protection they need, then they just show up (in works time), select from what is available, and get fitted with the correct size. The suppliers then bill the company for the total cost. There are no "personal allowances" of cash changing hands - in fact the employees don't even know what the footwear costs.
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