Managing Risks In The Workplace Involving Personal Protective Equipment & Clothing (PPE)
Why Is PPE Important?
Employers have duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work.
PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE).
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.
What You Have To Do?
You should ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is exposed and to what?
- How long are they exposed for?
- How much are they exposed to?
When selecting and using PPE:
- 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
- Never allow exemptions from wearing PPE for those jobs that ‘only take a few minutes’
- Check with AAA safety supplies on what PPE is appropriate – explain the job to us and we will provide infomation on the appropriate equipment/clothing needed.
PPE must be stored properly when not in use, eg in a dry, clean cupboard.
- Making sure you are using the right replacement parts which match the original, eg respirator filters.
- Always keeping replacement PPE available to your employees – AAA Safety Supplies offers a stock check service where we would check stock weekly and make sure you have a minimum of each item. (please ask for more information)
- Make sure everyone knows who is responsible for maintenance and orders of new PPE and how this can be done.
- Making sure you have a supply of appropriate disposable suits, clothing, masks, eye protection and gloves which are useful for dirty jobs for visitors who need protective clothing while on site.
Monitor and Review
It is your responsibility as an employer to regularly check to make sure your staff have the PPE that they require in order to keep safe while completing their daily tasks.
It is also useful to position safety signs around the workplace reminding staff to wear PPE and what equipment and clothing they should be using in certain areas.
Make sure regular checks are carried out to make sure working methods have not changed as you may need to update or implement new procedures and equipment.
Are you aware that AAA Safety Supplies provide a stock update service where we are able to visit your PPE store regularly and keep the minimum required clothing and equipment in stock and topped up at your business so that you will never grind to a hault by running out of high demand safety items.