A TUC survey has revealed that despite laws which say employers must give their staff personal protective equipment (PPE) free of charge, more than one in five workers are being forced to pay for it out of their own pocket.
PPE includes protective clothing, helmets and goggles designed to protect workers from injury, electrical hazards, heat, chemicals, and infection. More than one in 10 (11.6%) of those who responded to the TUC questionnaire said that although their work required them to wear safety equipment of some kind, their employer failed to provide or pay for this. A further 8.9% cent were made to pay for any replacement equipment if their original PPE was damaged.
Women workers were even less likely than men to have their safety equipment provided, with more than 15% having to provide all or some of their own attire - usually foot protection or overalls - compared to 10.5% of men.
The TUC also found that even where the employer provided PPE, the worker usually had to clean the equipment themselves or pay for it to be cleaned. Of those whose equipment needed cleaning, more than three in five (60%) claimed that their employer made no arrangements for providing, or paying the cost of, cleaning.
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