The term PPE or personal protective equipment encompasses garments, helmets, goggles, face masks, and other wearable items that help prevent injuries, damage to an individual’s health, or infection. Various industries from all over the world are expected to comply with safety guidelines on the use of PPE to ensure that workers, customers, and the general public are properly protected.
Damage to the PPE or providing inadequate PPE can result in liabilities. There is no way to predict which entity will be held responsible in cases when inadequate/damaged PPE leads to injury, health damage, or infection. However, it’s likely that liability will fall on either the supplier/manufacturer of the PPE or the business that provided the PPE to their workers. And this is where personalized PPE insurance comes in.
In this guide, we explore the different industries that need PPE insurance and/or product liability insurance for manufactured/supplied PPE. Along the way, we’ll also cover some fundamentals that you need to know about PPE failure.
Who is Liable for PPE Failure?
We live in an increasingly litigious society and some of the most viable kinds of lawsuits are those that involve physical injury, damage to overall health, and infection. In many industries, prescribed PPE is used to keep these unfortunate circumstances from happening. Therefore, PPE failure could result in liabilities.
In most cases, when PPE fails, the liability falls on one of these parties:
1. The Manufacturer/Supplier/Distributor of PPE
When PPE is defective, it could mean that manufacturers, suppliers, or the distributors of PPE could face product liability charges. Because this chain of entities handles PPE products before the products reach the user, they can be responsible for manufacturing errors or damage sustained along the way.
2. The Employer Who Provides PPE to Workers
In nearly every PPE-dependent industry, employers are responsible for providing PPE. In addition, employers have the responsibility to ensure that any PPE provided to their employees is in good condition and is replaced/cleaned when necessary.
From the time that the PPE is purchased by the employer from the distributor/supplier, the PPE must be stored appropriately to avoid damage.
How Does PPE Insurance Protect PPE Manufacturers/Suppliers/ Distributors
PPE insurance that encompasses product liability can help manufacturers, suppliers, or distributors avoid sudden financial loss in the event that they face a lawsuit because of injuries from defective PPE.
How Does PPE Insurance Protect Employers That Use PPE?
As we mentioned earlier, employers that do NOT follow through with their responsibilities on providing PPE for employees can face charges. This is because poorly maintained PPE or the lack of adequate PPE can result in injuries or illness for the workers themselves and, in some cases, the general public.
Industries That Need PPE Insurance
Sometimes, PPE used is only required in specific industries. However, in the face of extraordinary circumstances, such as a widespread pollutant or a pathogenic outbreak, PPE can become a requirement in nearly every industry where workers/customers are faced with such risk factors.
The following industries, as well as similar ones, need to ensure safety through PPE. Therefore, these industries can also benefit from PPE insurance.
1. Manufacturers/Suppliers/Distributors of PPE
If it is proven that employers who purchased the PPE maintained, stored, and used it correctly resulted in unexpected PPE failure, it would likely be seen as a product defect that the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor could be liable for.
2. Healthcare Establishments
Healthcare workers rely on PPE such as masks, gloves, surgical wear, and the like, to keep themselves and their patients safe. Some healthcare professionals are in close contact with sick patients every day and others are constantly handling potentially pathogenic samples of blood, urine, and other body fluids.
Typically, the establishment where healthcare professionals work is responsible for supplying adequate PPE. PPE insurance serves these healthcare establishments in case medical PPE failure results in viable lawsuits.
PPE for medical or R&D laboratories is essential to keep workers safe from hazardous chemicals and pathogens. If a laboratory fails to provide PPE or experiences PPE failure, PPE insurance can help the laboratory avoid financial loss from lawsuits.
4. Construction and Trades
PPE has always been required in construction and trades. Proper headgear can mean the difference between a mild concussion and lasting brain damage. Proper eyewear can protect workers from obtaining eye injuries and the right gloves can prevent third-degree burns.
In industries like construction and trades where hazards are everywhere, PPE failure can be detrimental. This is why PPE insurance is a must for construction and related trades.
5. Factories and Warehouses
Factories and warehouses are workplaces that typically have hazardous elements like various chemicals, fine dust, moving machinery/forklifts, and so on. Because of all of these elements, workers in factories and warehouses rely on prescribed PPE to be safe.
In the event of PPE failure and a related lawsuit, PPE insurance can save these businesses from sudden financial loss.
6. Hospitality Industries
Businesses like restaurants, bars, cafes, and hotels all fall within the hospitality industry. These businesses also rely on adequate PPE to ensure that the food and drinks they serve are not contaminated with pathogens.
If it could be proven that negligence with PPE was the root cause of an outbreak from a hospitality establishment, they could be faced with a viable class action lawsuit. This is why hospitality businesses can benefit greatly from PPE insurance.
Protect Your Business With Personalized PPE Insurance
KASE Insurance is an award-winning insurance brokerage firm with a strong track record of success. We have served satisfied clients over the years, providing insurance solutions that have exemplary coverage and competitive rates. PPE insurance or PPE product liability insurance is among our areas of expertise.