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.
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team