Employers must provide workers with free personal protective equipment to protect them against hazardous factors and factors harmful to health present in the working environment, as well as with working shoes and clothes, if the working conditions so require.
It must be used if hazards cannot be avoided or sufficiently reduced by means of collective protective equipment (for example, ventilation, safety barriers or compartments) or appropriate work organisation.
Personal protective equipment with which employers provide workers must meet conformity assessment requirements, as confirmed by CE marking.
Personal protective equipment should:
- be appropriate to the hazard involved (the type and intensities or concentrations of harmful and hazardous agents);
- take into account ergonomic requirements and workers’ state of health;
- take into account existing conditions in the workplace;
- fit workers correctly after necessary adjustments;
- be compatible and continue to be effective if several items of equipment must be worn simultaneously.
Employers must determine the conditions of use of personal protective equipment, especially how long and when it should be used, and instruct workers how to use it. Where necessary, they should organise demonstrations on how to use this equipment.
Please note! By way of an exception, personal equipment may be worn by more than one person if measures are taken to ensure that such use does not create any health or hygiene problems for the different users.
Employers must provide workers with free working clothes and shoes that meet the requirements specified in Polish standards:
- if workers’ own clothes may get damaged or get particularly dirty;
- due to technological, sanitary or occupational health and safety requirements.
Workers may use their own working clothes or shoes, but only if specific conditions are met: employers must draw up a list of workstations where this is possible, obtain workers’ consent for this solution, and workers’ clothes and shoes must meet OHS requirements. Workers who use their own working clothes and shoes must receive a cash equivalent from employers. Its amount must take into account the current prices of such clothes and shoes.
Please note! Workers cannot use their own working clothes and shoes at workstations where the following types of work are performed:
- involving direct handling of machines and other technical devices;
- resulting in working clothes and shoes becoming particularly dirty or contaminated with chemical or radioactive agents or biologically infectious materials.
After consulting workers or their representatives, employers must determine the types of personal protective equipment, and working clothes and shoes that must be used at specific workstations. They must also determine the expected service life of working clothes and shoes. The service life is not determined for personal protective equipment as it must be used until it loses its protective properties.
Tables of allocation standards for personal protective equipment, and working clothes and shoes are prepared on that basis. If, however, work rules are applicable at a company, the tables of allocation standards should form part of these rules.
Employers cannot permit workers to work without personal protective equipment, and working clothes and shoes that must be used at the workstation concerned. They must also monitor whether workers comply with the obligation to use these items in accordance with their intended purpose.
Employers must ensure that personal protective equipment, and working clothes and shoes issued to workers are washed, maintained, repaired, dedusted and disinfected. If employers cannot ensure that working clothes are washed, this can be done by workers, who are entitled to a cash equivalent for washing the clothes on their own.
Please note! Workers cannot be tasked with washing, maintaining, dedusting and disinfecting working clothes and shoes that have been contaminated with chemical or radioactive agents or biologically infectious materials. Personal protective equipment, and working clothes and shoes that have been in contact with chemical or radioactive agents or biologically infectious materials may be stored only in a place designated for this purpose. Employers are responsible for organising such places.