Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Negligence
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PPE – Know Your Rights
It is a legal requirement for your employer to provide you with appropriate Personal Protective equipment (PPE) for you to carry out your job safely. The dangers of not providing appropriate PPE have never been more stark following the recent Covid 19 outbreak.
If your employer fails to provide you with the correct protective clothing or equipment and you suffer an injury or illness as a result, you could make a personal injury compensation claim.
We understand that making a claim for compensation against your employer can feel overwhelming and you might be worried about the impact it could have on your employer and your employment; however, if you have had an accident at work due to your employer, or a colleague being negligent, then you are entitled to make a claim and get the compensation you deserve.
The Law in summary requires:
- Every employer to ensure that suitable PPE (personal protective equipment) is provided to his/her employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except
where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.
- Employers should provide adequate training regarding the use of PPE.
- Employers must have the equipment readily available for their employees or have instructions on where they can obtain it.
- PPE should be provided free of charge.
- PPE should be properly stored and maintained
- The PPE given to employees must provide adequate protection against all risks encountered
Example of workers who commonly use or require PPE and injuries that can be suffered if workers do not wear the correct Personal Protective Equipment
The following is a non-exhaustive list of workers who commonly use PPE
- NHS and Care home workers including Doctors, Nurses, Porters, Receptionists
- Construction workers
- Factory and manufacturing workers
- Delivery drivers
- Supermarket workers
- Postal workers
There are many different types of injuries which can be suffered by a worker as a result of having no PPE, or inappropriate PPE, and the following list is just a summary:
- Virus such as Covid-19
- Breathing difficulties
- Cuts to the body
- Hearing loss
- Head or brain injuries caused by falling objects
- Burns from hot surfaces or chemicals
- Eye damage caused due to lack of protective goggles
Types of PPE that can be used to prevent injuries
The HSE has provided a very useful guide to the type of PPE that should be provided by your employer dependent on the risks involved.
Remember if you need to wear various different PPE items, at the same time such as gloves, breathing equipment and eye protection; the PPE provided by your employer must be compatible with each other capable of being worn together without restricting the full and desired protection to be afforded by each
Types of PPE your employer can and should provide, where appropriate:
- Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, face shields, visors
- Head and neck
- Industrial safety helmets, bump caps, hairnets and firefighters’ helmets
- Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps
- Some respirators rely on filtering contaminants from workplace air. These include simple filtering facepieces and respirators and power-assisted respirators. Make sure it fits properly, eg for tight-fitting respirators (filtering facepieces, half and full masks)
- Hands and arms
- Gloves, gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or all of the arm
- Feet and legs
- Safety boots and shoes with protective toecaps and penetration-resistant, mid-sole wellington boots and specific footwear, eg foundry boots and chainsaw boots
- Whole body
- Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits
PPE – Coronavirus:
The HSE (The Health and Safety executive) have provided the following useful guide to appropriate PPE to use in order to avoid transmission during the coronavirus outbreak
Respiratory protective equipment
Tight-fitting respirators (such as disposable FFP3 masks and reusable half masks) rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face. A face fit test should be carried out to ensure the respiratory protective equipment (RPE) can protect the wearer.
To ensure you put on tight-fitting RPE correctly, use a mirror or ask a colleague.
Fit-testers should follow government advice on social distancing, as they can make observations from this distance and deliver any instructions verbally. The user should then carry out a pre-use seal check or fit check.
Minimise the risk of transmission
People who have symptoms of COVID-19 or are isolating in accordance with government guidance should not attend a face fit test.
To minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during face-fit testing the following additional measures should be taken:
- fit-testers should follow government advice on social distancing, as they can make observations from this distance and deliver any instructions verbally
- those being fitted should keep their respirators on if closer observation is required to minimise risk to testers
- both the fit tester and those being fit tested should wash their hands before and after the test in accordance with NHS guidelines. The NHS guide to washing hands: (this information should be clearly communicated to all workers)
- You should wash your hands more often and for at least 20 seconds.
- Wet your hands under warm running water.
- Apply enough soap to cover your hands.
- Rub your hands together vigorously.
- Use one hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do the same with the other hand.
- Rub the back of your fingers against your palms.
- Rub your thumb using your other hand. Do the same with the other thumb.
- Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Do the same with other hand.
- Rinse your hands under running water.
- Dry your hands completely with a disposable paper towel.
- Use the paper towel or your elbow to turn off the tap, to avoid re-contaminating your hands.
- those being fit tested with non-disposable masks should clean the mask themselves before and immediately after the test using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe (check with manufacturer to avoid damaging the mask)
- test facepieces that cannot be adequately disinfected (e.g. disposable half masks) should not be used by more than one individual.
- fit testers should wear disposable gloves when undertaking cleaning of the tubes, hoods etc and ensure they remove gloves
- immediately dispose of used gloves, disposable masks, cleaning wipes etc in a waste bin
Employers must provide appropriate hand washing facilities and or provide appropriate hand sanitizing gels.
We have noticed that some supermarkets are now installing the following safety measures to reduce the risk of infection from Covid-19, in addition to social distancing rules:
- Perspex screens to protect check out staff
- closing checkouts where two assistants sit back to back
- offering hand sanitiser at the entrance and exit of stores.
- Marks & Spencer have also installed what it called “sneeze guards” at tills as an extra precaution
- Contactless card payments
- Safety masks
However, it is concerning to note these measures were in the main only installed after the government’s lockdown on 23rd March 2020 and not all supermarkets are introducing such safety measures. It could be argued that the risks were foreseeable for some time prior to this date. Employers should be proactive and carry out regular risk assessments.
It has also been reported that many supermarket employees on the front-line serving customers haven’t been provided with masks despite repeated requests.
Why use Rotheras for Personal Protective Equipment claims?
We understand this is a very difficult time for workers especially if your employer has failed or is failing to provide you with the appropriate PPE.
Financial pressure may mean you have to continue to go to work whilst risking your health and safety. Be assured our personal injury team have considerable experience acting for people with injuries caused by a failure to provide the appropriate PPE. We will be sympathetic and listen to your circumstances carefully in order to help provide you with the appropriate advice.
We can handle claims on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Click here to meet our experienced Personal Injury team.
We work with a number of highly qualified medical professionals who can examine your injuries to assess your current and ongoing needs, including any future physical, or psychological treatment that may be required.
We can put you in contact with rehabilitation specialists, in circumstances where you might require a skin graft or amputation.
We will thoroughly assess your case with you and when calculating damages, we will ensure that any financial losses, including rehabilitation and treatment costs incurred are taken into consideration to try and get you the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
In some cases we may be able to organise interim payments to ensure you can still cover day to day and extra costs before your claim is settled. We have significant experience in representing Claimants at court in cases where an agreement cannot be reached between both sides
We are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
We are accredited with the Law Society’s Personal Injury scheme.
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Chambers UK, 2019
Impressive group with expertise in both matrimonial finance cases and children matters. A strong childcare team handles cases involving physical and emotional abuse, as well as fatalities. Well versed in matters with international aspects, Hague Convention cases, as well as adoption and guardianship issues.
Chambers UK, 2018
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Anton has substantial experience acting for commercial goods hauliers and other transport operators. He advises on a range of contentious issues including operator licence, maintenance and tachograph matters, with a wealth of experience acting in public inquiries before Traffic Commissioners."Anton is a highly informed and personable lawyer.
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Greg qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and has specialised in Personal Injury for more than 14 years. He acts for clients who have suffered life changing injuries. Greg also specialises in cosmetic and clinical negligence claims.
Paul Smith is a Personal Injury Solicitor at Nottingham-based law firm Rotheras Solicitors; he has 19 years’ experience working as a Personal Injury solicitor, covering a broad range of injury cases.
Jasmine Jackson is a Solicitor in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence department at Rotheras and is based at our Lace Market Office.
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Hannah Manewell is a Personal Injury Solicitor at Nottingham-based law firm Rotheras Solicitors and has spent the entirety of her 13 year career working in Personal Injury, covering a broad range of injury cases.
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