All employers in the United Kingdom are required to provide adequate PPE to their employees. The protective equipment provided must be adequate for keeping them safe in potentially dangerous work conditions. Compliance with the applicable Health and Safety Executive (HSE) standards for personal protective equipment (PPE) is not optional, so ignoring PPE compliance can lead to serious repercussions. As we discuss the details a bit more, these repercussions should become more apparent.
If an employer is found to be in breach of the HSE’s standards for PPE during an inspection, this may lead to hefty financial penalties. The employer will be provided with a date for the next inspection, and they will be expected to bring their PPE standards up to be compliant by then.
If conditions are deemed to be too dangerous for employees to work without appropriate PPE, officials may put the concerned operation on hold until the next inspection. Failing a second inspection would not just incur more severe financial penalties, but it can also lead to suspension of licenses/permits.
The potential financial loss employers may suffer by not keeping to the PPE standards can be quite significant. The combined cost of all noncompliance penalties imposed by the HSE will need to be paid, regardless of whether the business remains operational or not. If the business’s operations are indeed put on hold, no revenue can be generated for days, or even weeks.
Other than that, frequent injuries are imminent if the safety gear isn’t up to the right standards. They halt work, disrupt the workflow, aggravate the workforce, and affect productivity. The premiums for the employer’s liability insurance will also increase exponentially if the insurer needs to compensate too many workers. The company will need to pay out of pocket if the total compensation amount exceeds the maximum coverage.
High turnover rates that go above the industry average are indicative of bad workplace conditions. However, if the high turnover rate is mostly bolstered because of elevated workplace injury and death rates, loss of reputation would be impossible to avoid.
Employers with such a reputation are likely to be frequently inspected by the HSE for workplace safety and PPE standard violations. Punitive measures will be harsher if the investigation reveals that noncompliance to HSE standards has previously led to workplace injuries and/or deaths.
Lastly, loss of morale and enthusiasm are unavoidable consequences if workers feel that they are not given the protection they need to work safely. Seeing too many colleagues getting injured, or even die, simply because they don’t have access to the right protective equipment can be demoralising for obvious reasons.
A business run by workers who are scared and disgruntled will struggle to build an experienced workforce because no one will be willing to stay with the company long enough. It’s also a lot more expensive to pay for the training of new employees, than to simply bring your PPE and workplace safety standards up to the expected mark.