Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling


Is the PPE you provide affecting your workers in ways you’d never considered?

Debbie Janson, Senior Lecturer of Engineering Management at the University of Bath looks at what a vehicle recycling organisation should consider for their workforce to ensure their physical and mental well-being, as well as their safety, is taken care of when it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE).


Is the PPE you provide affecting your workers in ways you’d never considered? f
Debbie Janson

There is so much focus these days on having mentally healthy workers. But what if your PPE could help? PPE is the last line of protection – it’s there to protect workers when things go wrong. But what if those workers don’t feel safe or entirely comfortable in their PPE, even when things are going right? What if their PPE is actually causing them physical harm such as digging in, bruising and blistering? And how does this impact their mental health?

Legally, an organisation may have ticked all the boxes when it comes to providing PPE, but could they do more? How often do staff audits occur to check the PPE that’s provided is worn or that it fits and is comfortable? How many people are buying their own PPE to ensure that it actually fits because the “standard issue” doesn’t? How many people have just begrudgingly accepted their organisation’s price limit on their safety footwear and had to go with something that’s not quite as comfortable as it could have been for the sake of their employer paying a little extra?

Isn’t it time we started looking after employees “from the boots up”?

Is the PPE you provide affecting your workers in ways you’d never considered? p two

If we really want to show employees we care, we should do as much as we can to help their well-being. We should be taking every practical step we can to make sure appropriate PPE does not only protect employees but that they feel safe and comfortable in their work. Employees shouldn’t need to feel anxious or stressed or that their safety is compromised due to ill-fitting or uncomfortable PPE; they shouldn’t feel depressed because their feet have been hurting day after day whilst wearing their company-issue safety boots. However, this situation is more common than we might think. Nearly two-thirds of women find their safety footwear less comfortable than their regular footwear, but so do nearly half of men. And given that there is a mass of evidence showing that men are historically less likely to speak up about mental health issues, how likely are men to report problems with their PPE? We only know about safety footwear because we asked, but what about your workforce’s PPE in general, day in, day out, how is it affecting them?

Is the PPE you provide affecting your workers in ways you’d never considered? p oneThe Health & Safety Executive reported that 17.9 million working days were lost in 2019/20 to mental health conditions in the UK. Every worker who suffered took 21.6 days of leave when stress, anxiety or depression was reported as the cause. It’s impossible to estimate how much if any of this is attributable to PPE, but a build-up of micro frustrations associated with inappropriate PPE will almost certainly not help.

Some will say this link is nonsense or tenuous at best, but think about the last time you wore uncomfortable shoes or clothes, even for a social event; short term discomfort and fit can effortlessly affect you, and that’s without safety even being a factor.

So back to business, sure, this will most likely cost more. But what’s the trade-off? Happier and safer workers? Increased attendance? We don’t even need to do the maths: for the incremental cost difference, the benefits can be staggering. Investing in your people by choosing the right PPE not only leads to a more engaged and productive workforce, but if better PPE can genuinely reduce workers’ stress and anxiety in the workplace, the benefit is plain to see.

If you would like advice from Debbie, please email her at

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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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