Wherever you work, regardless of the industry, there will be acronyms and names flying around so often that it can be hard to keep track of what they all mean. One of the ones you need to know and be familiar with, however, is Personal Protective Equipment.
What does PPE mean?
PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment, is the equipment that you use to protect yourself from danger and risk whilst in the workplace. PPE should be provided to you free of charge by your employer, in accordance with the law. Where necessary, you should be trained on how to use PPE before you are required to use it.
PPE should be a crucial part of the detailed risk assessments in your workplace. These risk assessments should assess who is exposed to what, for how long and the extent of risk they are exposed to. With this information, your PPE needs are determined.
Why is it important to wear PPE?
According to the Health and Safety Executive, PPE is an important part of making workplaces safer for all, by protecting vulnerable parts of your body. This includes the skin, the lungs, eyes, ears, head, feet and body, in general.
PPE is required to reduce the risk of harm as much as possible, even when there are other control measures in use.
The skin needs to be protected from corrosive materials and irritants. The lungs need protecting from airborne contamination. The eyes need protecting from liquid splashing, flying materials and particles. The ears need to be protected from any noises deemed too loud to safely be around without protection. The head needs protection from falling materials and objects, as do the feet. The body needs to be protected from extreme hot or cold weather and any other associated risks, such as heat-stroke and ice.
What is PPE equipment?
PPE equipment covers a whole host of possibilities and includes:
Coveralls - overalls, overshoes, hoods, aprons, coats
Ear protection - ear plugs, ear protectors
Eye protection - spectacles and goggles of varying specifications and uses; e.g. welding, safety, protector
Face protection - helmet, beard covers, full and half masks, visors
Fall protection - body harness, lifelines, lanyard, carabiner, scaffold hook, rope grabbers
Hand protection - gloves of varying uses, such as grip, thermal, heat resistant, rigging, disposable, welding gauntlets, chemical gauntlets and so on
Head protection - balaclava, sweatband, helmet harness, helmet liner, chin strap and hi-vis helmets
Accessories - warning triangles, safety cutters, lens cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer wipes, headlights
First aid kits - emergency medical attention
PPE is required, by law, to be assessed for suitability before use, maintained and stored properly, to be given alongside instructions for safe usage and be used correctly by employees at all times.
All PPE should be CE marked in accordance with PPE Regulations 2002. The equipment should fit correctly, not be too heavy that it impedes movement, and the products you need should be suitable for wearing simultaneously, where necessary.
PPE should be worn at all specified times without exception, in the workplace.
PPE needs to be regularly checked to ensure staff are using it, and using it correctly. Ensure you have a person responsible for reinforcing this, as well as maintaining all equipment.
PPE should be stored dry, clean and in a secure cupboard or storage unit, where it can be monitored for use and condition. When necessary; damaged or broken parts need to be replaced immediately, to ensure it is safe and ready for use when neededed.
By now, you should be up to speed on the need for PPE, why it is important, and the standards for PPE equipment. Here, at Relko, we stock and supply all manner of PPE equipment to suit your needs; from coveralls and aprons to gauntlets, harnesses and helmets. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any further assistance.