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Can you charge your employee to replace the PPE he lost?

by , 05 June 2014
The experts behind the Health and Safety Advisor constantly get questions about PPE.

Recently, they received two questions from readers who wanted to know if you can make an employee pay to replace the PPE he lost.

If you have a problem with your employees losing, breaking and even selling their PPE, keep reading to find out what to do...

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PPE Q1: Can I make my employee pay for his replacement safety boots?

The Health and Safety Advisor says the answer to this is quite simply no, you can't. If your employee's PPE has gone missing you can't automatically deducted the money from his salary.
What you can do, however, is invoke your disciplinary procedure. You can do this on the grounds that your employees has the legal duty to cooperate with any measures you have in place to achieve compliance with OHS regulations. Your employee can't cooperate if he's lost his protective clothing.
You must state in his contract, your OHS Policy and during his induction, that arriving at work without his PPE equals failure to meet his legal duty. 
This will ensure your employee takes better care of his safety wear.
Let's look at the next question about lost PPE.
Can an HSE officer do induction training?
According to the OHSA, you must do induction training for new employees, external contract workers, even employees returning from maternity leave. And every time there's new legislation, or if you have a new safety process or equipment. 
It sounds like you could be doing induction every month! And who has the time to create proper training material? And ensure its correct?
So, I did some research to see what Induction training is available to make your job easier.

PPE Q2: My employees keep losing their hard hats and I think they're selling them. Can I make them pay to replace them?

This time, the answer is 'yes'. You can recover the cost of lost or damaged safety equipment. But you can only do this after you've done a full investigation.
During the investigation you must give your employees the chance to state their case. If you find that they're responsible for the loss or damage, then you can deduct the amount from their salaries. 
So there you have it: If your employees lose or damage their PPE, you can take action, just ensure it's the right action.

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