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Written by
on 06 September 2012


Workplaces have a duty of care to their employees and their safety when they are at work. So, this post has been compiled as an overview of the safety equipment that you, as an employer may need to provide in the workplace, as well as some of the unexpected issues with its use that you may not be aware of.

Office Safety – PPP – Personal Protective Equipment

This refers to any personal safety equipment that your employees require to work safely. This can be anything from a fully pressurised environmental suit to a set of latex gloves. Whilst it is unlikely that you will need to provide oxygen masks or the like in an office setting, it is possible that some of your staff, especially if cleaning, will need to use chemicals that require the use of gloves or eye protection. If so then you have a responsibility to ensure that such equipment is provided, that it is suitable for the use of any employee who needs to use it, including those who might be, for example, allergic to latex gloves, or those who the goggles you have purchased do not fit. You may well also have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that the equipment is used, so you may be required to challenge employees that you see failing to use it.

Fire Fighting or Medical equipment

Both these categories of equipment represent areas which are likely to be very tightly regulated, in terms of exactly what you must provide, and possibly not provide. This can include fire extinguishers or hoses, detection equipment such as smoke alarms, and medical equipment such as first aid kits. Your responsibility for safety equipment does not end when you purchase it, you need to ensure that staff members are appropriately trained in its use, are aware of what circumstances they can make use of it in. It is also important to ensure that the equipment in regularly checked, and that consumable equipment is replaced immediately after it has been used or if the expiration date has been reached.

Trolleys and lifting equipment

Again you have a responsibility to ensure that your employees are not required to undertake physical tasks that could be expected to result in injury. If your workplace contains large items that must be lifted and moved, then you need to provide any equipment that the employees may require to perform these actions, and again, ensure that they have been properly trained in its use.

Where equipment is potentially dangerous in the hands of the untrained, remember that you have a responsibility to ensure that it is not used inappropriately by any member of the public. Safety extends to everyone not just your own staff members, if children have access to your workplace, remember that there may be a much lower expectation on their part with regard to their own responsibility in acting safely.

If you are concerned that you may not be meeting your responsibilities as an employer, then you need to seek appropriate legal advice from a source that is qualified to offer it.

This post was contributed by Christina Jones, a freelance writer with a special interest in business matters such as health and safety and the things which can be used to enforce this like warning signs and safety equipment.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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