GO SAFE: FAQ on PPE
What are the laws on PPE?
The main piece of health & safety legislation in the UK is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which states that “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all [their] employees”.
This act later prompted the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, which says, “Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to [their] 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”.
When should PPE be used?
PPE is considered as a last resort in the risk assessment process. All employers have a duty to reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. These measures should follow a hierarchy of control - one of the most widely used methods is ERICPD (Eliminate, Replace, Isolate, Controls, PPE, Discipline).
What are the different types of PPE available?
Some of the most common types of PPE include...
- Head protection (e.g. hard hats)
- Eye protection (e.g. safety glasses, goggles, overglasses)
- Foot protection (e.g. safety boots, safety wellingtons)
- Hand protection (e.g. safety gloves)
- Hi-visibility clothing (e.g. jacket, vest, trousers)
- Hearing protection (e.g. ear defenders, disposable ear plugs)
- Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) (e.g. face masks, disposable respirators)
- Buoyancy aids (e.g. lifejackets, life vests)
- Fall protection (e.g. safety harness)
- Face protection (e.g. face shields)
- Body protection (e.g. insulated safety trousers or jackets)
- Anti-static/flame retardant/arc flash clothing (e.g. overalls and gloves)
The types of PPE you as a wearer will need to use will be identified in
your employers risk assessments or mandatory PPE policy.
What do I need to be aware of on site?
PPE will only protect you when it is correctly fitted and maintained. If your PPE is damaged or doesn't fit you, stop working and talk to your site supervisor immediately. You should never work with poor fitting or damaged PPE.
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