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Can I refuse to wear personal protective equipment?

Labor Law
Can I refuse to wear personal protective equipment?
Workers have the right of art. 40.2 of the Spanish Constitution, which entrusts public authorities with ensuring safety and hygiene at work.

Are there obligations regarding occupational risk prevention?

According to the Workers' Statute, measures that protect protective equipment are not specified, however, in Royal Decree 773/1997 of May 30, the provisions relating to occupational safety in the use of protective equipment are included. individual.

Therefore, there are obligations on the part of the employer and on the part of the workers regarding protective equipment. For example, in the same art. 3 of the aforementioned Royal Decree, it is established that the employer must ensure the safety of his employees, classifying and specifying the specific risks that exist in each job, as well as the body areas to be protected and the PPE to be used.

However, in article 19.2 of the Workers' Statute it is determined that the worker is obliged to observe the legal and regulatory measures of safety and hygiene in their work and in Law 31/1995 on the Prevention of Occupational Risks, specifically in article 29. , the obligations of workers in preventive matters are included, establishing first the obligation of each worker to ensure their own safety and health at work and that of those other people who may be affected by their professional activity, due to of their acts and omissions at work, in accordance with their training and the employer's instructions.

Does the employer have the obligation to provide protective equipment or must the worker himself purchase it?

The employer has the obligation to provide any type of personal protective equipment to workers, for the performance of the specific jobs that they require. Therefore, it is the duty of the employer to provide free of charge the PPE necessary to protect workers and to comply with occupational risk prevention regulations.

Is it mandatory to use the protective equipment imposed by the employer?

It is the duty of workers to enforce all the safety regulations that are available regarding the prevention of occupational risks and business matters, and must correctly use all the personal protective equipment necessary for the safe development of work activity.

For all these reasons, in the event of any defect in the protective equipment or any lack of protective material, the worker must inform the employer so that he can provide the relevant equipment, since above all, safety, health and safety depend on it. the life of the worker.

In fact, if the employer refuses to provide the corresponding protective equipment, the employer can report the employer to the Labor Inspection, so that the employer complies with his legal obligations and is sanctioned.

Therefore, failure to comply with legal measures regarding occupational health and safety not only harms the worker, but the employer may commit serious crimes, many of which entail significant financial fines.

What obligations exist regarding occupational risk prevention?
  • Properly use the machines, tools, dangerous substances, transportation equipment and any other means with which they carry out their activity.
  • Correctly use the protective means and equipment provided by the employer.
  • Correctly use existing safety devices.
  • Immediately inform your direct superior and the Prevention Service of any situation that entails a risk to the safety and health of workers.
  • Contribute to the fulfillment of the obligations established by the competent authority.
  • Cooperate with the employer so that he can guarantee working conditions.
  • In accordance with their training and following the employer's instructions, they must correctly use and care for protective equipment.
For this reason, current legislation regulates that failure by the worker to comply with his obligations regarding the use of PPE may lead to the adoption of disciplinary measures by the employer. It should be remembered that “failure by workers to comply with these obligations regarding safety and health at work may be considered a labor breach and trigger appropriate measures to be taken in this regard.”

Contact us, and at Forcam Lawyers we will study your specific case. 

At Forcam Abogados we have offices in Barcelona, Madrid and Reus.