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).
Why Use PPE?
Making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly. 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.
PPE Maintenance and Replacement
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. Replace sundry and disposable PPE equipment regularly keeping supplies replenished to a suitable level.
- 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.
Hazards Requiring PPE
Chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation
Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, faceshields, visors
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
Face Masks and PPE
Advice on the use of masks the community, during home care and in health care settings in the context of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak
Wearing a medical mask is one of the prevention measures to limit spread of certain respiratory diseases, including 2019-nCoV, in affected areas. However, the use of a mask alone is insufficient to provide the adequate level of protection and other equally relevant measures should be adopted. If masks are to be used, this measure must be combined with hand hygiene and other IPC measures to prevent the human-to-human transmission of 2019-nCov. WHO has developed guidance for home care and health care settings on infection prevention and control(IPC) strategies for use when infection with 2019-nCoV is suspected.
UK PPE Law
The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 and the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) give the main requirements. These have been replaced by the Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018 and Regulation EU 2016/425 of the European Parliament and of the Council. The latest details are available on legislation.gov.uk.
Other special regulations cover hazardous substances (including lead and asbestos), and also noise and radiation.
Data: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/documents/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-2019-ncov.pdf [2020-01-29]