Accidents Caused by a Lack of PPE
Information & Advice for Victims of PPE Accidents
What is PPE?
There are some jobs that are inherently dangerous, where no other alternative methods of working are available. In situations like these, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required as a last resort to protect employees and personnel from the risks they face during the course of their work. Where there are risks of occupational injury, these should be minimised as much as is humanly possible.
PPE includes items such as safety boots, goggles, air filtration masks, respirators, harnesses, high visibility clothing and any other protective item that would ensure an employee's safety. The PPE required by employees will vary significantly depending upon their job role, so tree workers will require chainsaw trousers, to protect against accidental lacerations; whilst asbestos removal workers will require protective suits and air filtration masks to protect against the onset of asbestosis.
If you have suffered an occupational injury or industrial illness that was made worse, or caused by, a lack of PPE then you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation.
Why do accidents occur?
The most common cause of accidents relating to PPE is that protective equipment may not be made available to personnel, or they may not receive the right level of training to enable heir use. Personal Protective Equipment can quite literally be a life or death matter and so it warrants the utmost care and attention by employers.
All employees should receive frequent and thorough training in the use of safety equipment, safety methods and risk reducing techniques and initiatives. All personal protective equipment should be stored safely, and should be frequently checked and maintained to ensure they operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. All equipment should be offered with usage instructions and equipment faults and damages need to be catalogued and remedied to prevent further use, until repairs can be made, or a replacement can be issued.
Unfortunately, some employers may avoid issuing PPE to save money, or they may just be negligent; whilst others may offer comprehensive training, but may not be checking to ensure that PPE is being use properly, or if it is being used at all.
So accidents may occur through the improper use of PPE, or because the employee was issued with the wrong personal protective equipment for the job, assuming that they were issued with any at all.
What sort of injuries can be caused?
There are many industrial injuries that can be caused through a lack of PPE, crushed limbs, toes and fingers can occur where safety boots and gloves are not used; lacerations and amputations can occur among employees that work with chainsaws and other bladed tools, whilst head and brain injuries can occur where no helmets or hard hats are issued. In some instances, dire accidents and fatalities can occur where faulty harnesses and safety ropes are issued.
Some personal injuries are not always immediately apparent however.
A lack of air filtration masks and respirators and protective clothing can lead to:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Industrial deafness
- Occupational dermatitis
- Vibration White Finger (VWF) / Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
Above is just a sample, there are a variety of industrial diseases that can be caused if insufficient or unsuitable protective equipment is issued to employees. The problem with these conditions is that they can take years to surface, by which point the damage is already done and in many cases, is irreversible.
At Asons Solicitors, we have dealt with a variety of personal injury claims for industrial diseases which could have been prevented if workers had been provided with appropriate personal protective equipment.
Who's duty is it to provide PPE? Should I buy my own?
No, current regulations and legislation state clearly that all PPE necessary for your working role should be provided free of charge by your employer. Your employer has a duty of care to you as employee, so it is their responsibility to keep you safe whilst at work. Your employer has no right to ask for a financial contribution from you towards the cost of your personal protective equipment.
It is also the employer's responsibility to ensure that all PPE is properly checked and inspected before use to ensure that it is suitable and functioning sufficiently for the task at hand. Your employer must also ensure that PPE is stored and looked after appropriately, replacing equipment wherever required. Instructions for equipment use must be made freely available to personnel and where items of PPE must be worn together, they must be compatible and must not undermine the desired protection afforded by each item, the whole must be greater than or equal to the sum of its parts.
Who can be injured?
Personal Protective Equipment is as much for your protection as it is for others. If an equipment failure or a lack of PPE results in the injury of yourself, a colleague or an innocent bystander, you can make a personal injury claim and they may also be able to make a claim for compensation if employer negligence can be proven.
PPE Accident Claims
If you or someone you know has been injured due to a lack of PPE, or due to employer negligence speak to us today for accurate and up-to-date advice. There are strict time limits in place when it comes to filing a personal injury claim like this. Due to the wealth of legislation and regulations in place, employers have very little excuse for allowing these accidents to happen. If you are injured as a result of their neglect for these legal requirements you are well within your rights to make a PPE accident claim for compensation.
A claim will not make your injury disappear, but if you are still suffering from the effects, the compensation you do receive can pay towards better treatment, and it can give you the financial security you need to take some time off to focus on getting better. If you feel that you can make a PPE claim, speak to us.
Where else can I find help and advice?
If you would like more information on preventative measures for work, or if you would like information to present to your employer, The Health and Safety Executive provides useful guidance on Personal Protective Equipment. They also provide printable brochures, guides and posters for use in and around the workplace. The injury sustained will dictate the types of support groups you will find most useful; your GP will be able to provide details on websites that may be useful to you.
What Should I do Now?
If you have spoken to your GP and have received a diagnosis, or if you, or someone you know have been injured in a PPE related accident, you should make a PPE accident claim for compensation with us today.
How can Asons Solicitors help?
We can provide assistance for any occupational accident. In talking to us you will receive the utmost care and attention whilst we deal with your personal injury claim and we'll keep you updated along every step of the way.
We will recover all of our legal fees from the person responsible for your injury, ensuring that the entire procedure is cost-free for you. You can contact our occupational accident helpline on 01204 521 133 or alternatively, you can fill out our personal injury claim form.