Work gloves-related injury claims

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A guide to making a No Win No Fee short or unsuitable gloves-related injuries claim

The law requires employers to issue their staff with suitable personal protective equipment. This equipment, including gloves and overalls, must be fit for purpose and protect the wearer from unreasonable risk of injury.

Employees are entitled to expect that the equipment they have been given will protect them, both in the course of their work generally and in the case of an?accident at work such as a spillage of hazardous material.

The law in question is The Personal Protective Equipment At Work Regulations 1992 ('PPE Regulations'). Unlike many laws and regulations, the PPE Regulations do not simply oblige an employer to take reasonable care, they impose an absolute duty on the employer.

In other words, an employer must ensure that suitable gloves are provided to employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work. The risks an worker may be exposed to will change from job to job, and can include:

  • contact dermatitis, in the case of hairdressers
  • burns and scalds for staff working with chemicals and heat, and
  • cold injuries for those employees working in low temperature environments

Personal protective equipment includes such things as:

  • safety helmets;
  • eye protection;
  • safety footwear; and
  • gloves?

So what do the PPE Regulations state

Firstly, regulation 4 states that personal protective equipment which is supplied to a employee must be suitable for the task which he or she is expected to undertake. An employer could not, for example, comply with the law by issuing a cheap pair of rubber gloves to an employee who has to place his or her hands within an oven.

Regulation 4 also says that even if the equipment supplied by an employer is appropriate for the job, it also has to fit the employee and take account of the employee's state of health. So, for example, an employer will likely be breaking the law if they supply a employee with gloves that are too short or are too small to fit the employee's hands.

Regulation 6 obliges employers to carry out an assessment before issuing personal protective equipment in order to ensure that the equipment is suitable. If an assessment shows that particular equipment is unsuitable then it must not be issued by an employer.

If an employer breaches the PPE Regulations by failing to provide safety equipment or supplying equipment that's inadequate, they can be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.

Not every employer who breaks the PPE Regulations is identified early enough to stop an employee or employees from sustaining injury because of the inadequacy of the protective equipment supplied to them.

What action can an employee take if they have sustained a hand injury due to inadequate gloves?

Using gloves as an example, your employer may be in breach of the PPE Regulations if they've provided you with gloves that:

  • are too small for your hands; or
  • do not provide adequate resistance to heat or other dangerous materials that you work with; or
  • are too short, leaving exposed skin or your arms (especially if you're working with heat or dangerous materials)

If you have sustained an injury at work or developed a work-related illness because your employer has breached the PPE Regulations by, for example, supplying you with gloves didn't give you suitable protection there is a very good chance that you will be able to claim compensation.

Call Quittance on 0800 612 7456 (or request a callback) to discuss your options on a free and confidential basis.