Builders' Merchants News

Work wear makes sense

Published:  03 September, 2009

SHIPLEY: Despite new legislation being introduced earlier this year, which now makes imprisonment an option for most health and safety offences, some employers are still putting their employees at risk by not providing them with the correct protective work wear and equipment for their jobs.

Under The Health and Safety Offences Act, which was introduced in January 09, maximum fines that can be imposed by Magistrates Courts increased from £5000 to £20 000 and potential prison sentences doubled from six to twelve months.

In addition more Health and Safety related cases can now be heard in Crown Courts which have the power to impose unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to two years.

However according to workplace equipment provider Slingsby, which sells more than 35,000 branded and non branded products through its catalogue and website, some organisations are still not providing basic personal protective equipment and work wear.

Lee Wright, marketing director of Slingsby, explains: "We're constantly speaking to employers across all industries that are unsure about what clothing and work wear they should be providing to their employees in order for them to carry out their jobs safely.

"Employers have basic duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment
(PPE) under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and abiding by these
regulations is the easiest way for a business or organisation to improve employee safety.

"The main requirement of the PPE at Work Regulations 1992 is that personal protective equipment
is supplied and used at work wherever there are any risks to health and safety that cannot be
adequately controlled in other ways."

Mr Lee adds: "The regulations cover nearly all clothing and equipment which is intended to be worn or
held in order to protect an employee from potential risks including safety helmets, gloves, eye
protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear, harnesses and weather resistant clothing."

According to guidelines from the Health & Safety Executive the main hazard areas are:-

  • Eyes - Hazards include chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation.
  • Head - Hazards include impact from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping and hair entanglement.
  • Protecting the body - Hazards include temperature extremes, adverse weather, chemical or metal splash, spray from pressure leaks or spray guns, impact or penetration, contaminated dust, excessive wear or entanglement of own clothing.
  • Hands and arms - Hazards include abrasion, temperature extremes, cuts and punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, skin infection, disease or contamination.
  • Feet and legs - Hazards include wet, electrostatic build-up, slipping, cuts and punctures, falling objects, chemical splash and abrasion.