What is PPE?
PPE means for personal protective equipment. Personal protective equipment is standing for the clothing or equipment which is used to protect workers from serious injuries or illnesses in some special workplace . According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), PPE is “equipment designed to protect workers from serious workplace injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards.” It includes items like safety shoes, safety clothing, safety helmet, masks, respirators, gloves, gowns, face shields, and other protective clothing.
Different types of personal protective equipment
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 engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:
- the lungs, eg from breathing in contaminated air
- the head and feet, eg from falling materials
- the eyes, eg from flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids
- the skin, eg from contact with corrosive materials
- the body, eg from extremes of heat or cold
PPE is needed in these cases to reduce the risk.
How to choose and use the PPE?
- Choose products which are CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 – suppliers can advise you.
- 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 disposable suits which are useful for dirty jobs where laundry costs are high, eg for visitors who need protective clothing
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 isn’t, 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
Our Types of PPE you can use