Failure to ensure that PPE is correct for individual employees

Failure to ensure that PPE is correct for individual employees

Every employer has a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that PPE is not only supplied to their employees, but that is suitable for individuals. 

For example, in the case of Kern v Bridgend CBC [2008] 10 WLUK 454, the Claimant worked in a school kitchen and had been provided with uniform that intended to protect employees from the risk of scalding. However, the Claimant’s sleeves were noticeably too long for her arms. This resulted in her being forced to roll the sleeves up to prevent her sleeves from contaminating the food. As a result, her skin was often left exposed and at risk of scalding. 

The Claimant attempted to remove a container from a steamer machine. As she did this, hot liquid spilled out of the container resulting in scalding to the Claimant’s left forearm. 

The judge in this case held that employees should not be expected to carry out makeshift adjustments to use equipment for its intended purpose. Nor should they be expected to take home protective equipment to make adjustments of the sleeve length.  As a result of the Defendant’s failure to provide the Claimant with a properly fitting jacket, the Defendant had failed to take steps to reduce the risk of injury to the lowest level reasonably practicable. As a result, the Defendant had breached its duty to the Claimant. The breaches were a direct cause of the scald injury to her arm.

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