In order to protect the mental and physical integrity of the employees, the employer is obliged to take all occupational health and safety measures and to provide the necessary tools and equipment to the employees in full.This is guaranteed and determined by laws and regulations.The employer should first protect the employees with collective protection measures, and provide PPE (personal protective equipment) to the employees at the point where the collective protection measures are not sufficient.In cases where the employer does not give PPE to the employees, heavy administrative fines are imposed, and under some conditions, the workplace is sealed and the work is stopped.For this reason, the obligation to provide the employees with PPE is a responsibility that must be fulfilled by the employer with great care and care.For this reason, the obligation to provide PPE to employees is a responsibility that must be fulfilled with great care and attention by the employer. INTRODUCTION According to the 4th article of the Occupational Health and Safety Law No. 6331, “The employer is obliged to ensure the occupational health and safety of the employees and within this framework; It is necessary to take all kinds of measures, including prevention of occupational risks, training and information, organization and supply of necessary tools and equipment. As stated in the employer's law, collective protection measures should be given priority over personal protection measures. The employer should only resort to the method of using personal protective equipment in cases where risks cannot be avoided or completely limited by technical measures or work organization and working methods that will provide collective protection. The general principles of the employer's obligations regarding personal protective equipment are drawn in the Regulation on the Use of Personal Protective Equipment at Workplaces (KKD Reg.).Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment is used to prevent work accident or occupational disease, to protect employees from health and safety risks, and to improve health and safety conditions. Four main definitions are used when defining personal protective equipment. Accordingly, personal protective equipment;
All tools, equipment, equipment and devices designed for this purpose, worn, fitted or held by the employee, providing protection against one or more risks arising from the work performed and affecting health and safety.
Equipment consisting of a device, tool or material that has been integrated by the manufacturer in order to protect the person against one or more risks,
Separable or non-separable protective device, instrument or material used with equipment carried or worn without the purpose of protection to perform a particular activity,
Kişisel koruyucu donanımın rahat ve işlevsel bir şekilde çalışması için gerekli olan ve sadece bu tür donanımlarla kullanılan değiştirilebilir parçalarını ifade etmektedir.It refers to the replaceable parts required for the comfortable and functional operation of personal protective equipment and used only with these equipment.
however, ordinary work clothes and uniforms that are not specially made to protect the health and safety of the employee, equipment used by disaster and emergency units in response activities, Personal protectors used by institutions such as the Turkish Armed Forces, general law enforcement and the Undersecretariat of the National Intelligence Organization to maintain public order, Personal protective equipment used in land transportation, equipment for self-defense or deterrence, portable devices that detect and warn risks, and unwanted situations are not considered personal protective equipment.
To give a few examples of personal protective equipment; helmet, steel toe shoes, earplugs, goggles, face shield, air-fed respirators, protective gloves, knee pads, leggings, life jackets, thermal clothing, etc.
Obligations of the Employer Regarding Personal Protective Equipment
The employer should pay attention to some aspects such as hygiene, ergonomics and design while providing personal protective equipment to employees. The main purpose of personal protective equipment is to protect employees from work accidents and occupational diseases. At this point, it is extremely important to pay attention to the following issues while giving personal protective equipment to employees;
Personal protective equipment should be aimed at preventing occupational risks for which they will be used and should not create additional risks,
Personal protective equipment should be suitable for the conditions existing in the workplace, in the same way, if used outside the workplace, it should be suitable for environmental conditions and seasonal conditions,
Personal protective equipment should be suitable for the ergonomic needs and health status of the user, and when necessary adjustments are made, it should fit the user.
Products within the scope of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulation must have the appropriate CE mark and Turkish user manual (PPE Direction m.6-1.a).
In some cases, employees may need to be protected from more than one risk at the same time and to use more than one personal protective equipment. There may be situations that require the use of more than one personal protector at the same time, such as performing demolition work with loud equipment in constructions, working in tunnels or excavation works in places where lighting is not sufficient. In cases where there is more than one risk and the employee needs to use more than one personal protective equipment at the same time against these risks, Personal protective equipment that is suitable to be used together and that does not affect the protection against the risks when used together should be selected (PPE Direction m.6-1.b). Some personal protective equipment is disposable, such as dust masks, while others are used for longer periods, such as hard hats and steel-toed shoes. The duration of use of personal protective equipment; The degree of risk is determined by taking into account the frequency of exposure, the characteristics of each employee's workplace and the performance of personal protective equipment. (PPE Direction m.6-1.c). While giving personal protective equipment to the employees, issuing embezzlement documents is important in terms of the burden of proof in the audits made by labor inspectors.
The employer's obligations do not only end with providing the necessary personal protective equipment. The employer should inform the employee about the risks against which he will use the personal protective equipment (KKD Regulation m.6-1.f) and provide practical training on the use of the said equipment (KKD Regulation m.6-1.g).Employers should keep personal protective equipment at the beginning of the equipment, at the entrance of the work area, in places where employees can easily access them and in sufficient quantities, they should be cleaned and maintained, and they should be kept under hygienic conditions (KKD Directive m.6-1.h). Employees should be provided with personal protective equipment free of charge by employers.
Obligations of Employees Regarding Personal Protective Equipment
Employees are obliged to correctly use, protect and store the personal protective equipment provided to them in line with the training they received on occupational health and safety and the employer's instructions on this matter, and to notify the employer of any malfunction or deficiency in the personal protective equipment.Employees should not use defective personal protective equipment until the malfunctions are corrected and necessary controls are made. Employees should check the personal protective equipment before each use (PPE Regulation Art.8).
Determination of Personal Protective Equipment
As we have mentioned before, personal protective equipment is the last protection method to be applied.Personal protective equipment is used in situations where risks cannot be avoided or limited by technical measures to provide collective protection or by work organization and working methods.The purpose of using personal protective equipment is to protect the mental and physical integrity of the employees.At this point, it is extremely essential to determine the appropriate personal protective equipment and ensure that it is used by the employees.The employer should first determine which occupational risks may cause work accidents or occupational diseases for the employees with the risk assessment to be carried out, and then determine the appropriate personal protective equipment that can eliminate these risks.İşveren, kişisel koruyucu donanım konusunda çalışanların, çalışan temsilcisinin, iş güvenliği uzmanının ve işyeri doktorunun görüşlerini almalıdır.
Ensuring the Use of Personal Protective Equipment by Employees
The employer is obliged to take every precaution for the employees to use these personal protective equipment properly (KKD Reg. m.8.1).It is not enough to purchase personal protective equipment and issue embezzlement documents to employees, but the employer must ensure that employees use the personal protective equipment providedAccording to Article 4 of the Occupational Health and Safety Law No. 6331."Monitoring and controlling whether the occupational health and safety measures taken in the workplaces are complied with and ensuring the elimination of nonconformities"responsible for providing.Likewise, it is stated in the established judicial decisions that the employer should control the measures taken (Supreme Court 10.HD.31.10.1978,1978/7689, Supreme Court 10.04.1984, 2029/2140).As stated in the Supreme Court's decision, "In any case, the job security of an employee cannot be left to the attention of the employee". (Supreme Court 10.HD. 17.04.1984, 2029/2140).
In the audits made in terms of occupational health and safety in workplaces, it is seen that poor quality personal protective equipment is frequently used because it is of wrong quality, unsuitable or cheap.Employers should provide their employees with appropriate CE certified personal protective equipment and ensure that they are used by employees.According to the Occupational Health and Safety Law No. 6331, an administrative fine of 500 TL per employee is imposed on employers who do not provide their employees with CE marked personal protective equipment.In addition to the administrative fine, in workplaces where not using personal protective equipment for employees is life-threatening or may cause occupational disease, the workplace is sealed and the work is partially or completely stopped.