Personal Protective Equipment In The Workplace Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protects you against any adverse health & safety risks you may encounter at work. It also forms an integral part of your health and safety management culture, policies and procedures. If you fail to implement the correct PPE into your business you’re open to HSE penalties. How can you introduce effective personal protective equipment in the workplace? Personal Protective Equipment failings in the fire service
PPE is vital is the fire service.
Recent research has uncovered that firefighters are exposed to dangerously high levels of harmful chemicals due to re-wearing contaminated PPE. Firefighters also have a higher chance of developing cancer than other professionals.
The Fire Brigades Union has called for PPE improvements. They also want PPE to be more readily available to firefighters. Simply wearing PPE isn’t enough to protect you from hazardous chemicals. You need to maintain, wash and clean your PPE to rid the harmful chemicals it comes into contact with. However, there currently are no industry-recognised regulations for the cleaning of firefighter equipment. It’s down to each individual brigade to determine what’s suitable. This means industry PPE standards vary nationwide.
We asked Wayne Dunning, our Health & Safety Manager, for his thoughts on the recent findings.
“This is surprising as firefighters should be aware of the risks when it comes to harmful substances and the use of PPE. Suitable training should have been undertaken so firefighters know how to correctly clean and maintain their equipment. It’s difficult to monitor PPE compliance considering there are no industry recognised regulations. However there are HSE legislations that need to be followed.”
The importance of Personal Protective Equipment In The Workplace
Personal protective equipment in the workplace can be a life saver as it reduces the ill health effects of hazardous substances. If you fail to provide adequate PPE then you are risking the livelihood of both your employees and yourself. The absence of PPE will undoubtedly affect your employees’ health, but it will also affect your business and its reputation. Quite often, there are multi-thousand pound payouts resulting from PPE non compliance.
Personal Protective Equipment legislation
PPE falls under numerous pieces of health & safety legislation:
-the Personal Protective Equipment Regulation 2002
-the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulation 1992
-the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulation 2002
-the Control of Asbestos Regulation 2002
Each piece of legislation is important in its own right.
Introducing Personal Protective Equipment into your company
You need PPE if you work in a high risk environment.
The best place to start is to conduct a risk assessment. Your risk assessment is used to evaluate the risks from any hazards present in your company. You then need to implement measures that mitigate these risks completely or as much as reasonably practical. This is where PPE comes in. PPE is a mitigating solution to certain hazards that are in your company. For more information on how to carry out a risk assessment, you can
read our blog here .
You can also carry out
health surveillance to uncover what PPE you need to introduce. You can also monitor the health of your team and the effectiveness of their PPE through health surveillance. If health surveillance uncovers a decrease in employee health then you need to improve your control measures. This includes PPE. Cleaning and maintaining your Personal Protective Equipment
Your PPE isn’t efficient if you aren’t cleaning and maintaining it correctly. The maintenance and cleanliness of your equipment is just as important as its fit!
PPE is often the only barrier between a person and a hazardous substance. Your PPE is riddled with hazardous substances, and unless thoroughly cleaned, are going to continuously damage your health.
Here are a few ways we recommend you clean your equipment: Clean hard hats regularly with warm water, soap and leave to air dry Clean safety glasses regularly with warm water and soap Wipe ear protectors with a damp cloth after every use Clean and disinfect your respiratory equipment according to the manufacturers instructions
If you notice that your equipment is damaged then we recommend you exchange it for a new set. It simply isn’t worth taking the risk of using faulty equipment.
Unlike other companies, at ELAS
we are able to carry out your risk assessments on your behalf. Risk assessments can be daunting,and health and safety companies realise this too! This is why they provide template risk assessments for you to fill in yourself. At ELAS our trusted health & safety consultants will visit your site to complete your risk assessment for you. We can also provide you with on-site health surveillance thanks to having one of the largest fleets of mobile medical units in the UK. If you still aren’t sure on your PPE responsibilities or need help and guidance when it comes to PPE within your company talk to a member of our team today. We’re available 24/7 and are always happy to help! Call 08450 50 40 60 or drop us a message using the contact form to the right.