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PPE - A Quick Guide

PPE quick guide

When selecting and using 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.


Maintenance

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.

Think about:

  • 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.


Types of PPE you can use

Eyes

Hazards;
Chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation.

Options; 
Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, faceshields, visors.

Note; 
Make sure the eye protection chosen has the right combination of impact/dust/splash/molten metal eye protection for the task and fits the user properly.

Head and neck

Hazards; 
Impact from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping, hair getting tangled in machinery, chemical drips or splash, climate or temperature.

Options; 
Industrial safety helmets, bump caps, hairnets and firefighters' helmets.

Note;

  • Some safety helmets incorporate or can be fitted with specially-designed eye or hearing protection.
  • Don't forget neck protection, eg scarves for use during welding.
  • Replace head protection if it is damaged.


Ears

Hazards; 
Noise – a combination of sound level and duration of exposure, very high-level sounds are a hazard even with short duration.

Options; 
Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps.

Note;

  • Provide the right hearing protectors for the type of work, and make sure workers know how to fit them.
  • Choose protectors that reduce noise to an acceptable level, while allowing for safety and communication.


Hands and arms

Hazards; 
Abrasion, temperature extremes, cuts and punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, radiation, vibration, biological agents and prolonged immersion in water.

Options; 
Gloves, gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or all of the arm.

Note;

  • Avoid gloves when operating machines such as bench drills where the gloves might get caught.
  • Some materials are quickly penetrated by chemicals – take care in selecting.
  • Barrier creams are unreliable and are no substitute for proper PPE.
  • Wearing gloves for long periods can make the skin hot and sweaty, leading to skin problems. Using separate cotton inner gloves can help prevent this.


Feet and legs

Hazards; 
Wet, hot and cold conditions, electrostatic build-up, slipping, cuts and punctures, falling objects, heavy loads, metal and chemical splash, vehicles.

Options; 
Safety boots and shoes with protective toecaps and penetration-resistant, mid-sole wellington boots and specific footwear, eg foundry boots and chainsaw boots.

Note;

  • Footwear can have a variety of sole patterns and materials to help prevent slips in different conditions, including oil- or chemical-resistant soles. It can also be anti-static, electrically conductive or thermally insulating.
  • Appropriate footwear should be selected for the risks identified.


Lungs

Hazards;

  • Oxygen-deficient atmospheres, dusts, gases and vapours.

Options – respiratory protective equipment (RPE);

  • Some respirators rely on filtering contaminants from workplace air. These include simple filtering facepieces and respirators and power-assisted respirators.
  • Make sure it fits properly, eg for tight-fitting respirators (filtering facepieces, half and full masks).
  • There are also types of breathing apparatus which give an independent supply of breathable air, eg fresh-air hose, compressed airline and self-contained breathing apparatus.

Note;

  • The right type of respirator filter must be used as each is effective for only a limited range of substances.
  • Filters have only a limited life. Where there is a shortage of oxygen or any danger of losing consciousness due to exposure to high levels of harmful fumes, only use breathing apparatus – never use a filtering cartridge.
  • You will need to use breathing apparatus in a confined space or if there is a chance of an oxygen deficiency in the work area.


Whole body

Hazards; 
Heat, chemical or metal splash, spray from pressure leaks or spray guns, contaminated dust, impact or penetration, excessive wear or entanglement of own clothing.

Options; 
Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits.

Note;

  • The choice of materials includes flame-retardant, anti-static, chain mail, chemically impermeable, and high-visibility.
  • Don't forget other protection, like safety harnesses or life jackets.


Emergency equipment

Careful selection, maintenance and regular and realistic operator training is needed for equipment for use in emergencies, like compressed-air escape breathing apparatus, respirators and safety ropes or harnesses.

 

For all your PPE needs Ring Flair on  01377 259222

If you are unsure of your PPE requirements we can arrange a free, no obligation appointment, were we visit your site at your convenience for a full assessment of your needs.