Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is equipment that protects the wearer from any potential health or safety risks they might encounter while doing their job.

Under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, it’s a business owner’s duty to provide PPE to their employees wherever needed.

The PPE Regulations also say that when you provide protective equipment to your employees, it must be free of charge, in good condition, stored properly and everyone must be trained in how to properly use it.

Why is PPE important?

When it comes to managing Health & Safety in your organisation, PPE is critical. Why? Because even when you’ve introduced controls, guards and safe systems of work, some hazards can remain.

Legally, PPE is seen as a last resort. It should only be used when other safety controls can’t fully protect an employee from a risk they may be exposed to when doing their job. The regulations themselves state:

"Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective."

How to select the correct PPE

Defining the risks

There are a couple of considerations you need to make when introducing PPE into the workplace. First, you need to establish who is exposed to risk, and the exact kind of risk they might be exposed to. Some examples include (but aren't limited to):

  • Exposure to contaminated air and dust - risk of injury or damage to the lungs
  • Risk of falling materials - the risk of injury to the head, feet and body
  • Flying particles or splashes of corrosive materials - poses a risk to the eyes
  • Contact with corrosive materials - risks damage or injury to the skin
  • Working in extremes of heat or cold - risk to the whole body
Other considerations include how long your employees are likely to be exposed to any of these risks during the course of their working day and how much of these hazardous materials they're likely to be exposed to.

If you'd like an extensive guide on what the proper PPE is for different tasks and different risks, take a look at our video, what proper PPE looks like.

Selecting and using PPE

When selecting PPE for your employees, and training them on how to use it, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you've got reliable equipment that complies with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002
  • Who is the PPE for? Who will be wearing it? Make sure all the equipment you choose has the end-user in mind and the task they'll be performing
  • If certain tasks need someone to wear more than one piece of PPE at the same time, make sure that they're able to be used together without damage - for example, safety goggles could damage a respirator's seal
  • Train everyone on how to properly use their PPE - how to put on and remove equipment correctly, what it's designed to protect against and what its limitations are

Correctly maintaining PPE

You need to make sure that you and your people look after their PPE properly. That means that if it's not in use, it has to be stored properly. If it's a reusable piece of equipment, then training everyone on how to properly clean and look after it is also a great idea.

Some important things to think about when it comes to maintaining your PPE are:

  • Will someone have overall responsibility for maintaining equipment? What's their exact role?
  • How often do you need to check PPE to make sure that it's in good condition?
  • Are you keeping any replacement parts on-site? Are they the right kind to match the original piece of equipment?

How can Citation help?

PPE is there to keep your employees safe and keep you compliant with all the legal obligations on you as a business owner. When you choose to work with Citation, we can help to make the process of deciding when and where to use PPE much less complicated and time-consuming.

We can help you to complete risk assessments on the different tasks involved in your business, putting the right PPE measures in place, the proper methods of accident reporting and so much more. Think of our team of qualified experts as an extension of your team, here to make your life easier and your business safer.

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