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 2009, 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 it still seems some organisations are still not providing basic personal protective equipment and work wear.
Employers across all industries are still 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.
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:-
Hazards include chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation.
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.
Greengates Builders Merchants, Lancashire would therefore like you to think about whether you are putting either yourself or your employees at risk.
Stay Safe, Protect Yourself!