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Can an employer charge for PPE?

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stretch3144
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Can an employer charge for PPE?

Post by stretch3144 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:02 pm

The answer to this is Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and it's pretty clear (to me anyway).
But.
My company has a safety shoe reimbursement policy whereby it will pay up to £35 for safety footwear (as an example) for anything not on the approved list; or will allow individuals to purchase their own footwear (to the relevant specification), and will refund them £35 of the total cost.
So the question is: can my company legally do this? And does anyone know where the £35 came from as it was also the same with a previous company?
I fear I have a battle on my hands with the boss...

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Re: Can an employer charge for PPE?

Post by bernicarey » Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:27 pm

So, s9 of the HSWA states
9 Duty not to charge employees for things done or provided pursuant to certain specific requirements.

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.
That seems fair enough, because The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 s4 says "Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees ....."

However, if the Employer is willing to provide footwear of a particular type, which costs them up to £35, but the employee wishes to have a different brand or style for some reason (other than a genuine problem, such as the Employer's preferred ones are not available in the right size for example), then it is not unreasonable for the Employer to cap any such cost to the price they could get them for.
The Employer would be perfectly within their rights, to the letter of the law, to say it's their ones or nothing.
Then of course, the employee might loose their job for not wearing the supplied PPE, because they would be in breach of HSWA s7(b), by not cooperating with the employer.

I can go on many a website and get safety footwear for under £35.
Pick a website and look.
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Re: Can an employer charge for PPE?

Post by Rowebin » Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:44 pm

Yes they can as it's goodwill to be able to let you have the option, and £35 is pretty generous!

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Re: Can an employer charge for PPE?

Post by witsd » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:22 am

In my days working for M&S, the choice was their boots (valued at around £12) or you went and bought your own, and paid 100% of the cost yourself.

Their boots were utterly unwearable for anyone over about a size 10 and fell apart within a few months. As a size 12, I bought my own for £50 and I'm wearing that same pair as I type this, around 8 years and two jobs later.

So in your position, I'd probably take the £35 and be happy, but I suppose its always worth challenging the status quo a little – don't ask, don't get!
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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Re: Can an employer charge for PPE?

Post by danwel » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:46 pm

A lot of places do that these days and £35 seems reasonable. The only thing i would add is that whatever you buy will not be on their approved list of footwear and should an accident happen and an individual potentially looks to seek compensation from the company due to lets say loss fo earning from a twisted ankle or broken ankle there would likely be quite a lot of wiggle room and an argument that it was due to the footwear and it not being on the approved list. just something to think about
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witsd
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Re: Can an employer charge for PPE?

Post by witsd » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:42 am

As long as you can show that it is tested to the same standard, I don't really see what the wiggle room could be, unless the style differs in such a way that it obviously doesn't protect the area that was injured. I.e, an ankle injury, and you were wearing trainer-style shoes instead of boot-style.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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Re: Can an employer charge for PPE?

Post by PaulDonaldson » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:19 am

I have asked this question before and received a response from HSE which states that by offering the money the employer is following the letter of the law but perhaps not the spirit of the law.
I have been to lots of businesses that offer the money but then don’t check what the employee has bought. One instance was a machine shop operator who took the allowance and bought a pair of Doc Martin(other brands are available) safety shoes. He wasn’t happy when he stood a piece of swarf which went into his foot. I explained that he should have bought shoes with mid sole protection and he looked at me as if I had two heads. He had never heard of these before and most certainly hadn’t been told that by the employer. MD advised to check what had been bought or even better just to supply a decent range of suitable footwear. It’s a minefield
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Re: Can an employer charge for PPE?

Post by stephen1974 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:04 pm

Isnt that what Standards are for though? Dictate what can and cant be bought by establishing what standard is required for the work place.

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