PPE Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (also known as PPE) is the protection given to employee by their employer to reduce any risk to an individual’s health or potential injury. In line with Health and Safety legislation all employers whose work includes a form of hazard should provide this equipment which can range from hard hats to rubber gloves. The importance of this equipment is upmost with no reason for employers to be unaware of the potential risks that their employees face without the proper protection.

PPE is part of the Health and Safety act which also includes providing training and supervision which along with PPE allows injuries or harm to be minimal if not non-existent. PPE also can prevent injury from happening to the individual in later life. An example can be seen with employee’s working in a noisy environment, while the damage may not be noticed instantly it is common in later life for the damage and symptoms to be more apparent.

Even if PPE has been provided that is not the only requirement of the employer. PPE must also be enforced and supervised to make sure all employees are wearing the equipment and wearing it correctly. PPE must also be correctly issued to employee regarding the size and fit of the equipment. If the above requirements are not met than the employer can be regarded as negligent.

All hazards are different across different working sectors from construction to engineering each job role has its own individual. For the employer to properly understand the risks a risk assessment evaluation should be produced allowing each different risk to be correctly identified and dealt with.
Below we have detailed the different types of PPE that can be found in workplaces across the UK.

This information can also be found on the HSE website at the following link- http://www.hse.gov.uk/Toolbox/ppe.htm.
You can also download a PDF of the PPE guidelines at the following link-

Types of PPE that are available and should be available to employee’s.

Hazards – Chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation
Protection – Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, faceshields, visors

Head and neck
Hazards to the Head and Neck – Impact from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping, hair getting tangled in machinery, chemical drips or splash, climate or temperature
Protection Available – Industrial safety helmets, bump caps, hairnets

Hazards to the Ears – Noise – a combination of sound level and duration of exposure, very high-level sounds are a hazard even with short duration
Protection Available – Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps

Hands and arms
Hazards to the Hands and Arms – Abrasion, temperature extremes, cuts and punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, radiation, vibration, biological agents and prolonged immersion in water.
Protection Available – Gloves, gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or the entire arm

Feet and legs
Hazards to the Feet and Legs – Wet, hot and cold conditions, electrostatic build-up, slipping, cuts and punctures, falling objects, heavy loads, metal and chemical splash, vehicles
Protection Available – Safety boots and shoes with protective toecaps and penetration-resistant, mid-sole wellington boots and specific footwear

Hazards to the Lungs – Oxygen-deficient atmospheres, dusts, gases and vapours
Protection Available – Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

Whole body
Hazards to the Body – Heat, chemical or metal splash, spray from pressure leaks or spray guns, contaminated dust, impact or penetration, excessive wear or entanglement of own clothing
Protection Available – Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits