Can employers charge for PPE

hard hat and gloves PPEPersonal Protective Equipment (PPE) is provided by employers so employees can carry out their job. There are responsibilities that employees must take responsibility for when dealing with PPE. See previous blog Link. 

The PPE Regulations stipulate that companies are unable to charge for PPE (under section 9 of the Health & Safety at work Act 1974 – see ACOP link below).

28 Under section 9 of the HSAW Act, no charge can be made to the worker for the provision of PPE which is used only at work. Section 9 of the HSAW Act states:

‘No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions’. Section 9 applies to these Regulations because they impose a ‘specific requirement’, for example to provide PPE. It also relates to all charges including returnable deposits. An employer cannot ask for money to be paid to them by an employee for the provision of PPE whether returnable or otherwise.’

29 If employment has been terminated and the employee keeps the PPE without the employer’s permission, then provided it has been stipulated in the contract of employment, the employer may be able to deduct the cost of replacement from any wages owed.

From guidance, levy’s or deposits are not be appropriate, so therefore we would deter this course of action.

If PPE is constantly being asked for as it is defective, consider discussing defective wear with the supplier or the manufacturer. Request a credit or replacement FOC as they are not fit for purpose under Trading Standards.

If employees are asking for frequent replacement of PPE, consider looking to discreetly mark the item with UV marker pen with a serial number much the same as asset tags on company property to check that the item presented for replacement are those that were recently issued.

If there are repeat offenders this would need to go down the HR disciplinary route.

ACOP – L25 PPE ACoP 2005

Contact us should you wish to discuss this topic.

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