Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Understanding Personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is clothing or equipment designed to protect employees from physical harm or health risks at work.
  • Types of PPE include gloves, safety boots, high visibility jackets, helmets, and eye and ear protection.
  • PPE is subject to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Using PPE

  • PPE should be worn and used in the manner for which it is intended. Misusing PPE can lead to serious injuries and accidents.
  • Proper maintenance of PPE is crucial. Always ensure it is in good working condition before you use it.
  • Report any damaged or defective PPE to your supervisor immediately.
  • PPE should be worn in conjunction with following safe working practices, it is not a substitute for these.

Responsibilities with PPE

  • Employers have a legal obligation to provide appropriate PPE to their employees.
  • The employee’s responsibility is to wear PPE correctly and to report any issues or discrepancies.
  • Both employer and employee are responsible for ensuring that PPE is used and maintained correctly.
  • Regular PPE training should be provided and undertaken to ensure everyone knows how to use and care for the equipment properly.

Selection of PPE

  • Selection of PPE should be based on the risk assessment of the task or environment.
  • PPE should fit properly, taking into account the employee’s size, comfort and ability to do their job.
  • Where multiple types of PPE are required, consideration should be given to ensure they can be used together effectively.

Importance of PPE

  • PPE can help prevent serious injuries or illnesses occurring from workplace hazards.
  • It is a critical part of achieving and maintaining a safe working environment.
  • Safe workers lead to better productivity and job satisfaction, by avoiding downtime due to injuries.