PPE is important on many levels:-
- First and foremost to protect the employee
- The use of PPE minimises risk to the person, therefore giving ‘third party’ protection for their families
- Protects any visitors who are entering the workplace
- Training in the correct use of PPE for it to do its job properly
Life carries risks. Jobs carry risks and all employers carry out risk assessments in the workplace to minimise any injury or damage to health. So, for protection against these risks PPE is engaged and training associated with it.
It is absolutely key that employers train their staff to know when:-
- PPE is necessary
- The type that is required for the role
- How to use the equipment properly
- Understand how the equipment works and it purpose and limitations
- How to care for it, maintain it and understand when it needs replacing
It is key that the PPE equipment being used on your premises is designed to be used for your needs and should fit comfortably and properly so that it does the job and gives proper protection.
The employer (or self employed person) is responsible for health and safety in their workplace. Managing health and safety should be an integral and straightforward part of managing a workplace and, employing good health and safety practice should enhance and help the success of a business.
As an employer, it is vital that workers and others who may be visiting the workplace are protected, as the consequences should health and safety not be taken seriously are that the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) or Local Authority may take action against you under criminal law. And for the affected person – a claim under civil law may be made against you for compensation.
So, when looking at the type of PPE required for your business, good advice can always be found on the hse.gov.uk website and from the supplier of the equipment – a good supplier will be able to advise what PPE is appropriate for the role/job.
Never allow exemptions from wearing any form of PPE even if the requirement for wearing it is only for a few minutes. For those visitors to a workplace that requires its workers to wear PPE – then this should be no different for the visitors. The risks associated with a visit may be lessened but there will still be risk, and the same principle will apply to visitors as to the time limit of exposure to a risk – PPE must be given and worn and fit properly and comfortably.
The training in the use of and the care of the PPE is absolutely necessary as well as giving clear instructions, information and adequate training to employees, with the training and information tailored to the needs of the environment. Something as simple as basic information or instruction sheets, display of notices or a demonstration may be adequate.
Good quality and well fitted, maintained and properly used PPE is a key factor in the success of your business and the protection of your employees.