Health and safety

Work and protective clothing and equipment

In situations where workers are exposed to atmospheric agents, high or low temperatures, radiation, noise, or where it is necessary to maintain hygiene in contact with products, the employer shall provide work clothing and equipment appropriate to the specific work.

In situations where hazards related to the presence of dangerous or harmful factors in the work environment cannot be avoided or cannot be sufficiently reduced by means of collective protection measures or appropriate organisation of work, the employer provides employees with individual protection measures covering all means worn or held by the employee to protect him/her against hazards, including any accessories and allowances intended for this purpose. Detailed rules for their selection and use are described in Appendix No. 2 of the Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 26 September 1997 on general regulations of safety and hygiene at work (Journal of Laws 2003 No. 169 item 1650).

Personal protective equipment should be adapted to the hazards, take into account the conditions existing in the workplace and be tailored to the user. They should be used for their intended purpose, at the times, in the cases and in the manner specified by the employer or his/her designee.

When selecting personal protective equipment, the employer should assess whether it meets the requirements ensuring adequate protection for the employee. When determining them for individual workplaces, the employer should take into account the indications contained in Tables 1 to 3 of the aforementioned Annex.

Table 1 identifies the physical (mechanical, thermal, electrical, radiation, noise), chemical (aerosols, dusts, liquids, gases and vapours) and biological (bacteria, viruses, fungi, antigens, protozoa and invertebrates) hazards for which PPE is required for specific parts of the body (head, face, eyes, hearing organs, respiratory tract, arms, legs, skin, trunk and genital tract).

Table 2 identifies the types of work for which specific types of PPE are required, such as protective clothing, helmets, headgear, hand and leg protection, face and eye protection, skin protection, respiratory protection, hearing protection and fall protection.

Table 3 lists all the possible elements within each of the above-mentioned types of PPE.

Where there is a risk that protective clothing or personal protective equipment is soiled with chemicals classified as hazardous, the employer must ensure that this equipment is cleaned and washed. An employee must not be allowed to clean or wash such soiled protective clothing at home (even assuming that he or she is paid an allowance for washing the clothing). Note that the employer must monitor whether employees are using the required PPE. If it is found that an employee does not use the assigned and required PPE while working, the employer or that employee’s supervisor must stop work and require the employee to comply with the defined requirements. A person who does not comply with the obligation to use the required personal protective equipment may not be allowed to work.