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.
When PPE is provided it’s required that all employees receive the correct information, instructions and training on its use and show how the equipment should be maintained, cleaned and disposed of.
The extent of the information, instruction and training will vary with the complexity and the performance of the kit, for example a full breathing apparatus will require more training to use properly than a disposable face mask.
In addition to initial training, refresher training may be required from time to time.
Supervisor checks on the use of the PPE may help determine when refresher training is needed.
You can use this form to create a record of the induction and training programme for staff who are new to their job
An effective system of maintenance of PPE is essential to make sure the equipment continues to provide the degree of protection for which it is designed for. Therefore the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule (including recommended replacement periods and shelve life) must always be followed.
Maintenance may include, cleaning, examination, replacement, repair and testing. The user may be able to carry out simple maintenance but more intricate repairs must be carried out by a competent person.
You need to ensure that adequate storage facilities are provided when PPE is not in use unless the employee can take the PPE away from the workplace (e.g. footwear or clothing).
The storage should be adequate to protect the PPE from contamination, loss, damage, or sunlight. Where PPE may become contaminated during use you will need to provide storage that is separated from any other storage provided for ordinary clothing.
If you require any further advice you can call the Healthy Working Lives free advice line number on 0800 019 2211 and speak to one of our safety advisors.
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team