Despite new legislation being introduced earlier this year, which now makes imprisonment an option for most Health & Safety offences, some employers are still putting their employees at risk by not providing them with the correct protective work wear and equipment for their jobs.
Under The Health and Safety Offences Act, which was introduced in January 09, maximum fines that can be imposed by Magistrates Courts increased from £5,000 to £20,000 and potential prison sentences doubled from six to twelve months. In addition more Health and Safety related cases can now be heard in Crown Courts which have the power to impose unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to two years.
However according to workplace equipment provider Slingsby, which sells more than 35,000 branded and non branded products through its catalogue and website, some organisations are still not providing basic personal protective equipment and work wear.
Lee Wright, marketing director of , explains: "We’re constantly speaking to employers across all industries that are unsure about what clothing and work wear they should be providing to their employees in order for them to carry out their jobs safely.
"Employers have basic duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment(PPE) under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and abiding by these regulations is the easiest way for a business or organisation to improve employee safety.
"The main requirement of the PPE at Work Regulations 1992 is that personal protective equipment is supplied and used at work wherever there are any risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways."
Lee adds: "The regulations cover nearly all clothing and equipment which is intended to be worn or held in order to protect an employee from potential risks including safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear, harnesses and weather resistant clothing."