Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Employers have duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work.

PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE).


Making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly.

Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:

PPE is needed in these cases to reduce the risk.


What do I have to do?

Selection and use

You should ask yourself the following questions:

When selecting and using PPE:

Other advice on PPE

Maintenance

PPE must be properly looked after and stored when not in use, eg in a dry, clean cupboard. If it is reusable it must be cleaned and kept in good condition.

Think about:

Employees must make proper use of PPE and report its loss or destruction or any fault in it.

Monitor and review

Types of PPE you can use

Eyes

Hazards

Chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation


Options

Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, faceshields, visors


Note

Make sure the eye protection chosen has the right combination of impact/dust/splash/molten metal eye protection for the task and fits the user properly


Head and neck

Hazards

Impact from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping, hair getting tangled in machinery, chemical drips or splash, climate or temperature


Options

Industrial safety helmets, bump caps, hairnets and firefighters' helmets


Note

Ears

Hazards

Noise – a combination of sound level and duration of exposure, very high-level sounds are a hazard even with short duration


Options

Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps


Note

Hands and arms

Hazards

Abrasion, temperature extremes, cuts and punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, radiation, vibration, biological agents and prolonged immersion in water


Options

Gloves, gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or all of the arm


Note

Feet and legs

Hazards

Wet, hot and cold conditions, electrostatic build-up, slipping, cuts and punctures, falling objects, heavy loads, metal and chemical splash, vehicles


Lungs

Hazards

Whole body

Hazards

Heat, chemical or metal splash, spray from pressure leaks or spray guns, contaminated dust, impact or penetration, excessive wear or entanglement of own clothing

Options

Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits

Note


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