Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) FAQs

Our PPE FAQs cover frequently asked questions relating to the personal protective equipment (PPE) at work regulations.

Why do I need PPE?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a control measure and last resort in reducing risk. It I provided where a risk assessment shows it is required. Examples of PPE include safety helmets, dust masks, gloves, safety goggles and safety footwear.

Do employers have to provide PPE?

Under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, it is a legal requirement for employers to provide suitable PPE to employees where a risk assessment shows it is required.

What do I do if someone refuses to wear PPE?

With the exception of a religious or medical reason, all employers should use PPE safely and properly. If a worker refuses to wear their PPE it should be investigated and it can be considered a disciplinary matter.

Employers are responsible for specifying and providing PPE to contend with the particular hazard. Consultation and involving employees in the selection process is a good way of ensuring use and compliance is achieved.

What do I do if my employer has provided inadequate PPE?

Employers are legally required to provide equipment that is fit for purpose, maintained and provides the right level of protection. If this is not the case, employees have the right to raise the matter with the employer and raise a grievance.

Are there religious exemptions from some types of PPE?

Yes – the Employment Act 1989 exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from the legal requirement to wear a safety helmet at work, including construction sites.

What types of signs are used to indicate the type of PPE you should wear?

Yes – there is blue mandatory signage saying which PPE is required and the warning signs.