Answered By: Health and Safety Team
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2024     Views: 688

What is personal protective equipment?

Personal Protective Equipment or 'PPE' refers to items of clothing or equipment such as helmets, goggles, gloves and steel toe-capped shoes or boots designed to protect the wearer from the risk of injury or infection.

PPE is manufactured to recognised standards, for example ISO or CE standards, to ensure the equipment is effective in protecting the user from the effects of the hazard the user may be exposed to.

The use of PPE should be considered as a 'last resort', if other means of protecting the user against the hazard are either not available or they are assessed as likely to be ineffective against the effects of the hazard.

When is the use of PPE required?

Where an activity could include exposure to a hazard which is assessed as 'significant', for example the hazard is worthy of consideration, then a written risk assessment is required by law identifying the hazard, the risk and the controls required to manage the risk to an acceptable standard.

If the hazard and the risk cannot be eliminated, reduced or contained to an acceptable level then PPE should be considered. The assessment should identify the type of PPE required, the standard of PPE and when and where it should be used.

How is PPE provided?

Where a risk assessment identifies the need for PPE to be worn for an activity, the University is responsible for providing PPE to the required standard, together with user training in its correct use, care and storage. This training should be recorded and repeated regularly.

The responsibility for providing the PPE rests with the management team in control of the work activity, with the Health and Safety team able to provide guidance and support in respect of the type and specification of PPE required.

What are my responsibilities for PPE?

If you have been trained and provided with PPE then it is your responsibility to ensure you use it correctly for the activity for which it has been provided.

You are responsible for ensuring the PPE is cleaned and stored correctly, and for reporting any faults or damage to your line manager so the PPE can be replaced or repaired as appropriate.

How will I know if the PPE is safe to use?

You should always check your PPE before use as per your training. If it is damaged, faulty or missing you should not start the relevant activity or task without it. Raise this straight away with your line manager.

Certain types of PPE are required to have statutory checks and inspections. This includes for example Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) or safety harnesses. Your training should help identify the types of equipment these checks apply to, and to look for inspection date tags so they are 'in-date'.

What regulations apply to the provision and use of PPE?

You can view the Personal Protective Equipment at work regulations.