Personal Protection Against Hazardous Substances
The employer must, where a risk of exposure remains despite using the most effective preventive or control measures possible, in addition to those measures provide any of his employees at risk with suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to adequately control exposure of them to any substance hazardous to health. Here, the employer must not charge the employee.
The employer must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide anyone else with suitable and adequate PPE where they are at risk in the above circumstances. In practice, for most circumstances of this kind, contract workers are treated exactly as employees facing the same risk and the preventive measure of banning non-workers from the area is used. However, the employer is entitled to charge self-employed contract workers for PPE. And there are circumstances of this kind where PPE is provided for non-workers, for example disposable gloves available for use by customers at petrol stations.
Where personal protection is needed as a last resort, the employer's assessment, selection, maintenance and accommodation of it must be in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (see G, Personal Protective Equipment) and care should be taken to ensure that all other relevant legislation on PPE is also met, such as regards breathing apparatus or other respiratory protective equipment, and regulations applying to certain workplaces.
As regards respiratory equipment, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations require that it is suitable for the purpose and approved by the Health and Safety Executive.