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.
RPE is designed to protect the individual wearer from various hazardous substances in their workplace. There are two types of respiratory equipment.
RPE may be required for working with large amounts of
Face masks rely on a good seal against the face, if there are gaps in the face mask then contaminated air, dust, gases and vapors may be breathed into the lungs. For this reason it is very important your mask fits properly and is used correctly every time you use it.
Facial hair, stubble and beards make it impossible to get a good seal on the face.
For this reason you need to be clean shaven to allow a good seal around the face and prevent any leaks of contaminated air into the lungs.
There are reasons that employees may have a beard for example, religious reasons. If that is the case there are alternative options that could be introduced, such as a full hood covering the head and the face.
The RPE should have a tight-fitting face piece, you need to ensure the user has the correct device. For this reason the initial selection of RPE should include fit-testing. A competent face fit tester should carry out these assessments.
You will need to repeat the face fit testing if there are changes. For example if the model or size of the face piece changes or if there are significant changes to the user’s facial characteristics. There are two forms of face fit testing.
There are three types of hearing protection.
Hearing protection must be worn by anyone who is likely to be exposed to noise at or above the Exposure Action Level set by The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
Go to our noise and hearing loss page
There are three widely used types of head protection.
Tasks where head protection may be required include
Turban-wearing Sikhs are exempt from wearing head protection on construction sites by virtue of The Employment Act 1989 as amended by Section 6 of the Deregulation Act 2015 (external site).
There are several types of eye protection.
Tasks where eye protection may be used include
There are a number of types of safety footwear.
Tasks where foot protection may be required include
Where there is a risk of slipping that cannot be avoided or controlled by other measures, attention must be given to slip resistant soles and replaced before the tread pattern is worn.
Hand and arm protection comes in a variety of forms.
Tasks where hand and arm protection may be required include
In order to eliminate the risk of ill health through exposure to latex a number of organisations have phased out the use of latex gloves and replaced them with nitrile.
Go to our hazardous substances page
Types of body protection include
Tasks where body protection may be required include
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.
Subscribe to receive updates on our services and activities
For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, you can speak to one of our specialist advisors.