According to a survey by Populus Data Solution, the vast majority of workers across industries believe that it is their employer’s responsibility to ensure they have the right protective equipment in the workplace, with a significant number stating they would refuse to go to work without the right PPE.
The survey, carried out for industrial workwear and protective clothing specialists Ballyclare, also found that a large proportion of workers are still seeking clarity on PPE from their employers and the Government. The results come as Ballyclare publishes a new factsheet, clearly spelling out to employers and employees exactly which PPE should be worn across various workplace settings and how it can be worn most safely.
As the economy slowly reopens, worker safety is a key focus for both employers and employees. When asked who should be responsible for ensuring workers have the right equipment to work safely, 87% of respondents said it is the employer’s role, while 40% also said the Government should shoulder the responsibility. Those working in the retail and consumer, manufacturing, transport, and logistics sectors all pointed to their employers as responsible for making sure they had the right protective gear (89%), while hospitality and leisure followed close by (84%).
In a stark illustration of the issues facing businesses coming out of lockdown, the survey found that if an employer did not provide the employee with personal protective equipment, almost twice as many people would refuse to go into work than would not. 40% said they would be either likely or very likely to refuse to go into work, whilst 23% said they would still attend.
The survey results showed that a significant majority of workers are crying out for clarity on what protective equipment they should wear. 74% said they would feel far safer in returning to work if their employers provide the right PPE – with 81% saying they wanted clear advice from their employer. At the same time, 73% of people said they also wanted clear advice from the Government.
As lockdown measures are relaxing and people consider their back-to-work options, the analysis shows that if people were able to go into work tomorrow, a slightly higher number of people would not feel comfortable doing so than would feel comfortable. 36% said they would not feel comfortable compared with 30% who said they would. The data also shows that 8% of people are already back at work and do not feel comfortable at the moment.
Silke Hendricks, Managing Director of Ballyclare, says: “If people continue to feel insecure about returning to work, we could see a huge impact on the UK’s efforts to reopen the economy. The more employers can do to communicate the steps they are taking to make the workplace safe, the better. We have created a factsheet, based on our years of experience of working with PPE, to provide some practical advice as companies look to do everything they can to reopen their workplace in as safe a manner as possible.”