PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is anything used or worn by a person (including clothing) to minimize risks of exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries. These illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical or other workplace hazards.
This may include respiratory protective equipment, hearing protection, eye protection, protective clothing, and safety harness systems.
- PPE Category I
Protective clothing in Category I protects the wearer from straightforward, personal risks, the effects of which can be safely identified in good time by the user.
- PPE Category II
This category comprises all PPE which is not assigned to Category I or Category III. It protects people from moderate risk e.g. high-visibility clothing or light heat protection. An external body must certify Category II protective clothing and issue an EC type-examination certificate. This is valid for 5 years.
- PPE Category III
Category III includes all PPE that protects against mortal danger or serious irreversible damage to the health of the wearer and where it must be assumed that the user cannot identify the direct effects of the danger in good time, e.g., the danger associated with an arc flash or chemical splashes. Certification must also be carried out by an external certifying body. PPE in Category III is also subject to an EC quality assurance system which ensures monitoring and repeats the test at regular intervals.
Personal Protective Equipment: Principles of Use
The Personal Protective Equipment at 1992 Work Regulations Place duties on employers to protect their employees from hazards within the workplace. Risk assessment may identify personal protective equipment as being part of an overall prevention or control strategy to protect an individual, but it should always be a last resort.
Provide suitable PPE to employees if there is a risk to their health or safety that cannot be adequately controlled by other means (as determined by a risk assessment); to be suitable, PPE must:
- Be appropriate for the risks involved, the conditions where the risk occurs and the time for which it is worn
- Take account of the ergonomic requirements and the state of health of each person who may wear it and the characteristics of their workstations
- Be capable of fitting the wearers correctly
- Effectively prevent or adequately control the risk(s) involved without increasing overall risk, so far as is reasonably practicable
- Be CE marked to show it conforms to relevant standards
- Ensure compatibility if more than one item of PPE needs to be worn together, and that they adequately protect against the risks they are intended to control.
- Review PPE assessments if they are considered to be no longer valid, or if there have been any significant changes in working practices.
- Maintain PPE in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. This includes cleaning or replacement, as appropriate.
- Provide appropriate storage facilities for PPE when it is not in use.
TYPES OF PPE
- Head protection
- Hand protection
- Eye and face protection
- Respiratory protection
- Hearing protection
- Foot protection
- Body protection
- Height and access protection
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