Why is ppe important
Making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly.
Even where controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:
From breathing in contaminated air.
The Head & Feet
From falling materials.
From flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids.
From contact with corrosive materials.
From extremes of heat or cold
Personal Protective Equipment is needed in these cases to reduce risk.
Selection and Use
You should ask yourself the following questions:
Who is exposed and to what?
How long are they exposed for?
How much are they exposed to?
When selecting and using PPE:
- Choose products which are CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 – suppliers can advise you.
- Use a supplier or distributor who has completed their full due diligence, to make sure the products they supply you are Certified and from an Approved manufacturer.
- Choose equipment that suits the user – consider the size, fit and weight of the PPE. If the users help choose it, they will be more likely to use it.
- If more than one item of PPE is worn at the same time, make sure they can be used together, eg wearing safety glasses may disturb the seal of a respirator, causing air leaks.
- Instruct and train people how to use it, eg train people to remove gloves without contaminating their skin. Tell them why it is needed, when to use it and what its limitations are.
Other advice on PPE:
- Never allow exemptions from wearing PPE for those jobs that ‘only take a few minutes’
- Check with your supplier on what PPE is appropriate – explain the job to them
- If in doubt, seek further advice from a specialist adviser
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.
- using the right replacement parts which match the original, eg respirator filters.
- keeping replacement PPE available.
- who is responsible for maintenance and how it is to be done.
- having a supply of appropriate equipment for different circumstances, alongside being able to offer visitors PPE.
Employees must make proper use of PPE and report its loss or destruction or any fault in it.
Monitor and Review
- Check regularly that PPE is used. If it is not, find out why not
- Safety signs can be a useful reminder that PPE should be worn
- Take note of any changes in equipment, materials and methods – you may need to update what you provide