PPE, also known as personal protective equipment is used to defend against health and safety risks within a workplace.
Most employers will provide PPE to their staff to lawfully protect them. Personal protective equipment includes safety footwear, gloves, head protection, eye/ear protection, harnesses, knee pads and RPE (Respiratory protective equipment)
What is PPE used for?What is PPE and how can it protect? As mentioned previously, PPE refers to any equipment that is used to protect a user against health and safety risks. This special type of equipment is used to protect the users lungs, head, skin, eyes, ears and body.
PPE protects the lungs by stopping the user from breathing in dangerous and contaminated air. PPE such as thermal gloves protect the body from extreme changes in temperature. Other gloves may be used to protect the skin from any corrosive and harmful chemicals. Steel toe cap safety boots are designed to protect the feet from piercing or impact. Safety helmets protect the head and goggles and visors protect the eyes from corrosive materials or chemicals.
When would you require to wear PPE?Some industries will need you to wear PPE by law. For example, most construction sites require the user to wear a hard hat to protect the head. This would be provided free of charge by the employer.
If you are an employee and feel you are unsafe or at risk. We advise you speak to your employer with your concerns. Remember, it is important to check that your PPE is marked in accordance with the 2002 PPE regulation. Never equip PPE that you feel is unsafe or does not meet the standards. It is important that PPE is stored correctly and maintained.
It is important to check that all PPE is the correct size for the user. Consider the suitability of PPE to the user before buying. We recommend allowing the user to help choose their own size. This way you are less likely to make an error.
Always wear PPE whenever there is a risk to health and safety. Never use excuses like "It will only take a second" as any exposure to risk at any time is dangerous.
If you are unsure if the PPE is appropriate, contact a specialist adviser or speak to one of our team on 01268 590720
Remember that not all PPE is reusable. Make sure you understand the product before and after use. People often ask what is PPE because they lack knowledge of the equipment. When purchasing PPE, it is important to read the product descriptions fully. This is also where you will most likely find out if the product complies to the correct standards. For example, if you require ear protectors. It is important to check what decibel of protection the product offers before buying.
Certain roles, such as fire fighters, will require the user to wear flame resistant clothing. Other roles, such as electricians may be required to wear composite boots. This is because most composite boots include no metal, which is a conductor of electricity.
The ultimate goal of personal protective equipment is to protect its user. Remember to check if all your PPE is compatible with each other. For example, certain visors may not sit well with breathing masks. This could potentially decrease the protection of either product, making it unsafe.
It is always important to check with an expert if the selected PPE are compatible with each other.
When is PPE not suitable?PPE is not suitable when it can create a new potential risk. For example, gloves may not be suited to be used with bench drills, as the gloves may get caught.
PPE is also not suitable when it has been damaged or not not maintained correctly. It is important to test PPE on a regular basis to ensure it is safe for work.
Now you should know the basics of what is PPE. If you found this article useful and informative, please feel free to share this on your website or via social media. If you need any further advice, be sure to contact us via our live chat feature.
Remember, stay informed and stay safe.