The importance of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

10 October 2014

Importance of protecting your workers and benefits to the company.

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We all know that budgets are tight at the moment and PPE can be expensive, but it’s an investment that’s essential for many businesses. In this article, I look at how to present a good case for investment in PPE.

What are the legal requirements for PPE?

Employers should use PPE as a last resort – they should try to control these risks in other ways before resorting to PPE.  But where this can’t be done, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states that PPE must be supplied.   The Regulations also require that PPE is:

  • properly assessed before use to make sure it’s fit for purpose
  • maintained and stored properly
  • provided with instructions on how to use it safely
  • used correctly by employees.
(taken from

So, above all else, employers have a legal duty to provide PPE, but there are lots of other reasons why they should do this too.

What are the business benefits of investing in PPE?

1. Avoid and reduce injury and sickness – PPE reduces the effects of injury and can prevent accidents and injury from happening at all.  By lowering these risks, sickness absence is reduced and the headache of paperwork and time involved in near miss and RIDDOR reporting is avoided.

2. Fulfil legal health and safety obligations – avoiding accidents, investigations and prosecutions.

3. Looking after workers – Healthy and safe workers are also happy and productive ones.  Keeping your staff happy results in increased productivity, higher staff morale, lower staff turnover and reduced sickness absence. Companies that adopt best practice also attract new talent and create brand loyalty by sending a positive image to customers. 

4. Avoid HSE investigations – by staying compliant, you avoid prosecutions (for the company and its Directors), fines and legal fees, compensation payouts and costs to the business of the associated bad press.

5. Cost savings – the money invested in PPE is covered by savings gained from other benefits such as lower staff turnover, a reduction in sickness absence and avoiding costs relating to prosecutions. 

So, do you really need to invest in PPE?  Yes – not only is it an essential legal requirement, but through the associated benefits such as increased productivity and reduced sickness rates, it also makes great business sense.


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