PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work
This section explains your obligations for providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees and different types of PPE available.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work, this can include items such as
As an employer, it is important that you understand your responsibilities and take steps to keep your workers and members of the public safe.
You will need to know what PPE you need to provide and what training you need to provide to employees to ensure that they use it correctly.
As an employee, you will need to understand your responsibilities for the use, storage and maintenance of your own PPE.
PPE should always be your last resort to manage workplace risks. This is a legal requirement.
While risk assessing work activities you need to think of different control measures before moving to ask employees to wear PPE. When deciding what precaution that you are going to introduce in the workplace you can work through the ‘hierarchy of controls’. It aims to minimise or prevent workplace hazards.
The controls in the hierarchy are in order of decreasing effectiveness, you should always follow this order.
These are some of the reasons why PPE must be considered as a last resort.
The need for PPE must be identified through
Risk Assessment, it should not be a one size fits all approach. The protective equipment should be personal to the individual user and be suitable and fit for purpose.
All personal protective equipment must be
'C E' Marked (external site). The C E mark signifies that the PPE satisfies certain basic/minimum safety requirements.
To establish if your employees need to wear PPE you can carry out a risk assessment. During the assessment you will identify workplace hazards, evaluate and estimate risks to decide if you are doing enough to manage risks in Anne Walker - 2/6/20 - adding COVID contentthe workplace. You will also decide what PPE needs to be used.
PPE should be your last resort for managing the risk of transmission and you should not use PPE as a substitute for physical distancing (also known as social distancing) in the workplace.
The type of PPE that you or your employees need will depend on the type of work that you do, the people you are working with and the work environment where the task takes place.
This advice is different for organisations providing health care. To find out more about PPE requirements in a health care setting, go to train your own staff.
The Scottish Government is recommending that you consider using face coverings in limited circumstances – for example, travelling on public transport or entering a food shop where it is not always possible to maintain a 2 metre distance from one another.
Face coverings do not mean surgical or other medical grade mask, but a facial covering of the mouth and nose, made of cloth or other textiles – for example, a scarf. Use of facial coverings is not being made mandatory and will not be enforced at this stage, but we would encourage you to do this.
For more information and advice on working safely during COVID-19, visit our
The following factors should be considered when assessing the suitability of PPE.
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, you can speak to one of our specialist advisors.