This was an appeal against a decision that an employer did not have a duty to an employee under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 Regulations 7 (1). The employer was a lorry driver collecting milk from farms. He had been supplied with steel capped safety boots, which were personal protective equipment (PPE) within the 1992 regulations. This was in case something heavy fell on his feet. A hole developed in the boots and in extreme weather conditions water leaked inside. As a result he suffered mild frostbite and permanent difficulty in dealing with the cold weather. At the appeal lawyers argued that the employer was under a duty to keep the PPE in a good and efficient state. The hole in the boots meant that they were out of repair and the employer should therefore be liable for damage. The employer argued that the boots were adequate in that they protected his feet from heavy objects and that they did not expect their employee to spend long periods in snow and ice.
Did the words "in efficient working order and in good repair" in the PPE Work Regulations 1992 Regulation 7 (1) mean that the employer was under an absolute duty to repair and maintain PPE issued to employees even if that repair had nothing to do with its protective function?