Injuries caused by inadequate PPE
If you were injured at work due to inadequate personal protective equipment, you could have a valid PPE claim for compensation.
How Much Could You Claim?

Inadequate PPE Claims

In the UK, employers must take steps to protect their employees from potential risks of accidents and injuries. This duty of care includes the provision of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers who operate in potentially hazardous conditions.

If you have been injured at work as a result of not being provided with the correct personal protective equipment, you could be entitled to claim compensation from your employer. That will cover the pain, suffering and related financial expenses resulting from your injury.

If you have suffered an injury at work and feel that it could have been prevented with the correct PPE, contact a solicitor today to find out if you have a valid claim. Call 0800 032 3660 for a free case assessment, where an experienced legal adviser will discuss the circumstances of your accident and advise you on your legal right to compensation. Alternatively, use our online claim form to request a call back.

What is personal protective equipment (PPE)?

PPE is defined by the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 as all items of clothing and equipment designed to be held or worn while at work to help protect the user from health and safety risks. Some of the most common examples of PPE include:

  • Safety helmets and hard hats
  • Goggles, visors and face shields
  • Safety boots
  • Protective suits and overalls
  • High visibility jackets
  • Protective gloves
  • Dust masks, breathing apparatus and respirators
  • Hearing protection
  • Safety harnesses
  • Elbow and knee pads
  • Life jackets

Personal protective equipment is necessary under many working conditions that pose a potential risk of injury. These could include the following:

  • Dusty environments or processes
  • Where there is a risk of falling objects or flying debris
  • When working with hazardous substances
  • Where workers come into contact with vapours or gases
  • Poor visibility environments
  • When working at a height
  • When employees work in extreme temperatures
  • When using power tools such as drills, chainsaws and angle grinders.

PPE is used for many different job roles and across many industries. In particular, you are likely to see the use of various protective equipment on building sites, factories, warehouses and laboratories.

However, according to the regulations, PPE must only be used when employers cannot adopt other means of reducing or controlling potential risks. In other words, PPE must be considered a measure of last resort.

According to research conducted by RIDDOR, approximately 9,000 PPE-related accidents are reported annually. The most common injuries are those relating to the use of hand, arm and foot protection, followed by PPE for the eyes and face.

Who is responsible for providing PPE?

It is the duty of your employer to provide you with suitable personal protective equipment if risk assessments indicate that there is a need to protect your health and safety from potential hazards. Before resorting to PPE, an employer should first and foremost take all reasonable steps to remove or minimise these risks.

If PPE is deemed necessary to carry out tasks safely and effectively, your employer has a responsibility to do the following:

  • Supply you with the relevant PPE – the cost of which should be covered by them;
  • Ensure equipment is suitable for the user – i.e. fits you correctly and is appropriate protection against the risks present;
  • If more than one item of PPE needs to be used at the same time, your employer should ensure that they are compatible. For example, a dust mask may not work correctly if the seal is disturbed by the user also wearing specific safety goggles;
  • Provide employees with sufficient training on how to use PPE, including why and when you should wear it and if there are any limitations;
  • Ensure equipment is maintained in good condition and stored appropriately to prevent damage that could minimise its effectiveness.

Health and safety laws place strict requirements on employers. Still, employees must also share responsibility for their safety by ensuring they follow instructions, use the PPE provided, and bring any defects to their employer’s attention.

For further information and advice on the use of PPE at work and the duties of employers, please consult the handy guide produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) here.

Am I eligible to make a personal injury claim for inadequate PPE?

If you had an accident at work due to inadequate personal protective equipment, you will likely be eligible to pursue a claim. Before taking on your case, your solicitor will ask you a few questions to determine whether:

  • Another party, such as your employer or a product manufacturer, owed you a duty of care
  • They breached their duty by acting negligently
  • You’ve been injured at work due to inadequate PPE as a result

You should not worry too much about proving a duty of care, as this process is typically straightforward. Your solicitor will refer to legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974  to show a breach of duty and liability. Once these are established, they will contact the defendant and inform them of your allegations and intentions to start a PPE claim.

What is the process for making an inadequate PPE claim?

If you want to start a PPE injury claim, the first thing you should do is contact a specialist personal injury solicitor. You can do this by calling 0800 032 3660 or using our simple claim form to ask for a call back. A friendly legal adviser will offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and legal options. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about the claim and the service we can offer.

If you are eligible to make a PPE compensation claim and decide to proceed, you will be paired with an experienced solicitor who is suitable for your case. They will work under a conditional fee agreement (no win, no fee), so you have no financial risk if your claim fails.

After proving liability, your injury lawyer will help you gather all the evidence you need to make a successful claim. This is detailed in the section below and could include medical records, photographs of the accident scene and witness statements. Your solicitor will also arrange for a free medical assessment of your injuries by a specialist to know exactly how much compensation you might be able to claim.

Once they have all the details, your lawyer will send a claim notification form to the defendant (CNF) to inform them of your intentions to make a defective PPE claim and the compensation award you expect from them. If they admit liability, you can start to negotiate your settlement. Otherwise, your solicitor will be prepared to take your case to court. This rarely happens, as more than 95% of all cases are settled without a trial.

What evidence do I need to make a PPE compensation claim?

Your solicitor will need as much evidence as possible to help you make a successful PPE compensation claim. Based on the circumstances of your injury, this could be:

  • Photographs of the accident scene and the inadequate personal protective equipment you received from your employer;
  • If available, you can request any CCTV footage that shows how the accident occurred. Try to do this as soon as possible, as security camera tapes are typically deleted within a month;
  • Medical records that show the type and severity of the injury you suffered, the treatments received and your recovery prospects;
  • A report from a healthcare professional stating the long-term effects of your injuries and future care needs that could be included in your compensation for inadequate PPE;
  • A copy of an accident report form that you should file with your employer as soon as possible. This will make it easier to prove when, where and how your accident occurred;
  • Statements from witnesses who saw how the accident occurred and can help prove liability;
  • Your notes with as many details as possible about how the accident occurred, the equipment you were using to do your job, and how your injuries have affected your life;
  • You also need financial evidence of all the losses you incurred, such as receipts, invoices, payslips and bank documents.

If the defendant denies liability or you cannot agree on the amount of compensation owed to you, your solicitor will take your case before a judge. They will look at the available evidence to decide whether the other side was negligent and what compensation they should pay you for inadequate PPE.

What accidents could inadequate personal protective equipment cause?

Inadequate personal protective equipment at work can lead to various accidents that may cause severe and even life-threatening injuries. These include:

  • Slips, trips and falls. Lack of appropriate footwear, such as non-slip shoes, can contribute to slips and trips on wet or uneven surfaces. These may cause various injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to severe brain trauma.
  • Falls from heights. Insufficient or improper use of fall protection equipment, like harnesses and safety ropes, can result in falls from elevated surfaces. Without the correct use of PPE, workers are exposed to the risk of serious injuries or fatalities when working at heights.
  • Exposure to hazardous substances. Employees are vulnerable to exposure to dangerous substances without proper respiratory protection, gloves, and protective clothing. These can lead to respiratory issues, skin conditions, injuries and other health problems.
  • Electric shocks. Inadequate protection against electrical hazards, such as insulating gloves and other safety gear, increases the risk of electrocution for workers who may come into contact with live wires or electrical equipment.
  • Crushes and impact trauma. In workplaces with heavy machinery or potential falling objects, the absence of proper protective gear, such as helmets or reinforced clothing, enhances the risk of crush and blunt trauma injuries.
  • Exposure to unsafe noise levels. Without adequate hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, prolonged noise exposure can result in hearing damage and hearing loss claims.

Injuries resulting from insufficient or defective PPE

The accidents listed above and others caused by lack of PPE can lead to various injuries. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Cuts and lacerations. Lack of cut-resistant gloves in occupations that involve working with sharp objects and machinery can lead to cuts and lacerations. While these are not typically severe, deep wounds can cause infections and permanent scarring.
  • Sprains and strains. Inadequate PPE can also contribute to sprains and strains, especially in tasks that involve repetitive movements or heavy lifting.
  • Broken bones. Lack of PPE in the workplace can also contribute to bone fractures, particularly in jobs where there is a risk of falling objects, collisions, or you must work at a height.
  • Burn injuries. Lack of proper protective equipment when handling chemicals or working with electricity can result in chemical burns, skin injuries, or systemic effects from exposure.
  • Hearing loss. Lack of appropriate hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, can lead to hearing damage in noisy work environments.
  • Eye injuries. Inadequate eye protection, such as safety glasses or goggles, can result in eye injuries due to exposure to debris, chemicals, or other hazardous substances.
  • Back injuries. Back injuries at work may result from various accidents and situations that involve a lack of PPE, such as back support belts when lifting or harnesses when working at a height.
  • Head injuries. Without proper head protection, such as helmets or hard hats, you are at risk of head injuries from falling objects, impacts, or collisions. These can range from bruises and mild concussions to severe brain trauma.
  • Industrial diseases. The lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) in industrial settings can expose workers to various occupational hazards, such as asbestos, skin irritants or radiation. These can cause a range of diseases, including asbestosis, cancer and dermatitis.

If you make a PPE claim, the type and severity of the injuries you suffered will play an essential role in determining how much compensation you may receive.

Fatal work accidents caused by inadequate PPE

If you lost a loved one due to a lack of adequate PPE at work, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Anyone who classifies as their dependant could make a claim, including:

  • Spouses and former spouses
  • Civil partners and former civil partners
  • A partner living in the same household for at least two years prior to their death
  • Parents and other ascendants
  • Children and other descendants
  • Anyone treated as a child or parent by the deceased
  • Siblings, aunts and uncles

Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, you could claim the following if you lost a loved one due to a wrongful death:

  • The financial benefits expected from them, which may include lost wages, bonuses, pensions, healthcare benefits and other sources of income;
  • The services they can no longer provide, such as childcare, household chores, gardening and property maintenance;
  • Reasonable funeral expenses that you paid for, like the headstone, embalming of the body or the cost of a memorial;
  • You can also claim a bereavement award of £15,120 for the grief and suffering caused to you by the loss of your loved one.

What is the time limit to make a defective PPE claim?

You have three years to start your claim if you have suffered an injury due to inadequate PPE at work. Under the Limitation Act 1980, the time limit will begin from the date of your accident or the onset of a condition caused by the lack of suitable PPE (date of knowledge). If you miss the three-year deadline, your case will be statute-barred and no longer valid.

Starting your claim as soon as possible will give your solicitor plenty of time to gather the necessary evidence. That will also ensure that you and any witnesses will remember details about the accident that may prove crucial to the case. There are some exceptions to the legal time limits with personal injury claims, such as:

  • If you were under 18 at the time of the accident, you have until you are 21 to start an inadequate PPE claim.
  • If your accident caused you to suffer a brain injury, PTSD or another condition that affects your mental capacity, the time limit is suspended. A litigation friend could claim for you anytime, regardless of when the accident occurred.
  • If you were injured while working abroad, the time limit may depend on the foreign country you were working in and may be shorter than three years.
  • If a loved one suffered a fatal injury as a result of inadequate PPE, you could claim compensation within three years of their death.

How long will my PPE claim take?

There is no single answer to how long your claim may take to settle. The timeframe will depend on various factors, such as:

  • The circumstances of your accident
  • The severity of your injuries
  • Whether you have suffered a long-term disability
  • The value of your compensation award
  • Whether the defendant admits liability
  • The time it takes to gather evidence and build your case
  • Whether you have to go to court

These and other factors may influence the length of your claim. There are, however, a few things you can do to speed up the process. For example:

  • Provide all details of your case as soon as possible;
  • Gather as much evidence as possible;
  • Fill out and sign all forms and legal documents as soon as you receive them;
  • Communicate clearly and openly with your solicitor;

It typically takes between six and nine months to settle most accident at work claims. Once you have negotiated your compensation award or a judge ruled in your favour, you should receive the compensation payment within four weeks.

Will I have to go to court to make a claim?

It is unlikely that your accident claim will end up in court, as more than 95% of all cases are resolved without a trial. Settling out of court brings several advantages to both parties, which include:

  • It involves fewer legal fees and expenses, and it is more cost-effective;
  • It is less time-consuming and avoids the delays associated with court proceedings;
  • It can help reduce the stress and anxiety for all parties involved in the claims process;
  • The details of the case remain private, unlike court hearings that are available to the general public;
  • It allows the parties involved to have more control over the outcome of the case;
  • The agreed settlement is final and cannot be appealed.

These and other reasons make an out-of-court settlement the preferred way to resolve the vast majority of personal injury claims. However, your case may go to trial under certain circumstances, such as:

  • The defendant denies liability. If the defendant, which is typically your employer, denies liability for the workplace accident, insisting that they are not at fault, the case may proceed to court to establish negligence.
  • You cannot agree on the compensation award. If there is a significant disagreement between you and the defendant regarding the amount of compensation to be awarded for damages, the case may go to court. A judge will evaluate the evidence and decide how much you should receive for the injury caused by inadequate PPE.
  • You have suffered severe injuries. Cases involving severe or multiple injuries are more likely to go to court. That is because they involve significant compensation awards that must adequately reflect the severe physical, emotional, and financial impact of the injuries.
  • You need interim payments. If you have pressing financial needs, your solicitor may apply to the court for interim payments. You can receive an interim payment if the defendant has admitted liability or you have sufficient evidence to ensure a trial will likely go your way.
  • There are multiple parties involved. In cases where multiple parties, such as your employer, a contractor or a manufacturer, are involved in the accident, complexities may arise. Your claim may go to court to determine liability and responsibility.
  • The other side is unresponsive. If the defendant or their insurer are unresponsive or unwilling to engage in the claims process, your solicitor may issue court proceedings. This way, they will be legally obliged to respond to your claim.

Even if your case goes to court, you do not always have to be present, as your solicitor may be able to represent you. If your presence is also required, your legal representative will give you all the support and advice you need throughout the process. You may feel more at ease knowing that claims for personal injuries are heard before a judge without a jury.

How much compensation could I receive for an injury caused by a lack of PPE?

The amount of compensation you could claim for inadequate PPE will depend on your particular circumstances. Your settlement will be based on various losses that are grouped into two types of damages:

Special damages are awarded for the specific financial losses incurred due to the inadequate PPE accident. These are based on evidence such as receipts and invoices and could include:

  • Lost earnings during recovery
  • Loss of or reduced earning capacity in the future
  • Care costs, even if provided by friends or family
  • Prescriptions and private treatments
  • Medical equipment such as hearing aids or wheelchairs
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate a long-term disability
  • Travel expenses for going to medical visits
  • The cost of replacing or repairing personal items damaged in the accident
  • Any other out-of-pocket expenses directly linked to your injury

General damages are awarded for subjective losses that are more challenging to quantify in monetary terms. These are based on historical cases and the guidelines published by the Judicial College and consider the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and discomfort
  • Physical and mental disability
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Reduced quality of life or life expectancy
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Loss of a unique career

The specific circumstances of your case will determine how much you may be able to claim for personal injury compensation. According to our online calculator, you could receive the following awards for general damages:

  • £2,020 to £240,590 for leg injuries ranging from minor sprains and strains to loss of both legs above the knee
  • £2,200 to £268,720 for eye injuries that may go from minor cornea scratches to complete blindness
  • Up to £151,070 for the most severe back injuries that involve damage to the spinal cord and long-term disability
  • £1,880 to £379,100 for brain injuries, depending on their severity
  • Up to £46,780 for severe elbow injuries that may need surgery and cause permanent disability
  • £5,630 to £281,520 for arm injuries, with the maximum amount awarded for the loss of both arms

Can I make a PPE injury claim on a No Win No Fee basis?

If your employer has failed to provide you with adequate personal protective equipment and you have sustained an injury or illness as a result, you may be eligible to make a claim. At InjuryClaims.co.uk, we work with experienced injury claim solicitors who have helped thousands across the UK recover compensation for injuries they suffered due to a lack of PPE.

Your solicitor will provide a no win no fee* service, which means there is no financial risk to you if you aren’t successful in winning your claim. It also enables you to get your claim underway without worrying about paying any upfront costs. You only pay a success fee of up to 25% of your settlement if and after you receive compensation.

If your case fails, you will not have to pay the costs and disbursements incurred during the claims process either. These will be covered by the After the Event (ATE) insurance included in your agreement, which covers:

  • Court and counsel fees
  • Medical reports
  • Expert witness fees
  • Costs of printing and copying
  • Travel expenses like parking and fuel
  • Barrister fees if the case goes to court
  • The defendant’s solicitors and litigation costs

If you would like to learn more about the no win no fee service and find out if you are eligible to make a claim, please request a call back today or call 0800 032 3660. You will receive a free claim assessment without any cost or obligation to proceed further. If you have a valid case, your solicitor will help you claim the highest level of compensation that you are entitled to.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.