Occupational Diseases and PPE


The Health and Safety at Work Act has now been in place for over 45 years and requires employers to protect employees from risk in the workplace as part of their duty of care and this includes, where necessary, the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which is covered under The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Yet, despite the longstanding existence of these vital pieces of employment law legislation, there are many employees who continue to work without the appropriate protection and are working in environments where their employers are failing to follow best working practices that safeguard them from potential health and safety risks.  

The recent Coronavirus pandemic has brought the use and importance of PPE in to the spotlight and this will hopefully raise further awareness regarding workplace safety and the obligations of an employer. However, what are the rights of an employee regarding PPE and what should you do if you believe your working environment caused an illness or accident?

What is PPE?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work, this can include items such as

  • safety helmets
  • ear protection
  • high visibility clothing
  • safety footwear and safety harnesses
  • thermal, weather and waterproof clothing
  • respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

PPE Legislation  

The regulations surrounding PPE seeks to ensure that where risks cannot be controlled by other means, PPE should be correctly identified and put into use. Your employer is not allowed to charge you or ask for contributions to the provision and maintenance of PPE as if there is a need for PPE it must be provided free of charge by your employer. In addition to providing the correct PPE, employers must also ensure that all employees have received up to date and correct training in its use and that equipment is both suitable for the task in hand and that it is also in good condition.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 also places obligations on employees and includes duties such as:

PPE must be worn and used in accordance with the instructions provided to them

Any loss or obvious defect must be immediately reported to their line manager.

Employees must take reasonable care of any PPE provided to them and not carry out any maintenance unless trained and authorised.

Accidents in The Workplace or Occupational Illness Due to Lack of PPE

Unfortunately, industrial diseases and accidents in the work place are often due to unsafe working conditions or caused by an employer failing to fulfil their duty of care, and commonly this is down to the lack of the appropriate PPE or adequate training.

Whilst workplace accidents or occupational diseases can range from accidents with machinery, poisoning, hearing conditions or repetitive strain injury, industrial illness often takes a long time to manifest, so it’s possible for people to be working in an unhealthy environment for years before the symptoms become noticeable. Exposure to harmful substances can be linked be to a variety of serious health conditions and although not exhaustive, can cause the following:

  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Industrial hearing loss
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Vibration white finger
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Work related cancers
  • Chemical poisoning
  • Work related asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Silicosis

Industrial Illness and workplace accident Solicitors  

If you believe a workplace accident or an illness is due to an employer’s failure in their duty of care to you, you may be eligible for compensation. Although, it is vital you seek advice from a specialist personal injury lawyer as making an industrial illness or workplace accident claim for compensation is a complicated process 

At Russell & Russell we have an experienced team of industrial illness and workplace injury solicitors who have the expertise and experience to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible. The legal process surrounding these types of claims is often complex and lengthy, but we passionately believe our clients deserve expert legal advice, specialist support and access to the best medical practitioners following diagnosis.   – To receive advice regarding an industrial illness claim, start by making a claims enquiry with us and someone will contact you regarding your case. Or Call 0800 732 7555 to speak with someone in our personal injury team.


Personal Injury Advice Clinics Every Friday

We run a free weekly Personal Injury Clinic at our Atherton office where we provide free legal consultations regarding personal injury matters. You do not need to pre book an appointment and the clinics run weekly, every Friday at 10am till 12pm

Address is: 43 Market Street Atherton M46 0GQ

Telephone: 01942 884 469

All meeting areas follow COVID-19 safe guidelines, and we have all the necessary procedures in place to keep clients safe and socially distanced.

For more information on our drop in personal injury clinic or to speak with one of our specialist injury lawyers, please call 0800 731 7555 or make an online enquiry


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