PPE – why is it so important? Well, the HSE website states:- ‘making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly’.
PPE for the head and neck is highly important no matter what safe systems of work have been applied. It is vital to protect the eyes and skin from, for example, flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids and the head from falling materials, and although not located above shoulder, it is vitally important to protect the lungs from inhaling any form of contaminated air.
When considering your purchase or use of personal protection equipment (PPE), products you use should have the CE mark according to the 2002 PPE regulations. The CE mark is the symbol that is applied to a product to indicate the product conforms with the relevant EU directives regarding health and safety and environmental safety.
It is absolutely necessary to:-
- select the correct size/ fit / weight
- Ensure that the PPE works effectively and properly together, for example, if it requires the use of a mask and safety glasses, it must work together without compromising the other
- Ensure that all PPE is stowed away safely and kept clean
- If replacement parts are required, ensure the correct parts are fitted eg the correct replacement filters on a respiratory mask
- always ensure that replacement equipment is available
- Good practise for managing the care of the equipment is to always check if it has been used
So taking the head and the face – the areas to protect from hazards such as chemical and metal splash, dust, gases and vapour:-
So how to protect eyes? 👁👁
Depending on the working environment, safety glasses or goggles need to fit properly to offer the greatest protection from the hazard.
- Head and Neck
Helmets, bump caps and hairnets are the obvious PPE selection to protect from falling and flying objects, stopping hair getting tangled in equipment/ machinery, climate and temperature and chemical splash. Ensure the protection equipment fits correctly. Safety helmets can be fitted with with eye and or hearing protection depending on the type of working environment it is required for.
💡Remember – ALWAYS REPLACE DAMAGED HEAD PROTECTION
Noise and sound at certain levels are a hazard regardless of the length of time of the exposure to it. The obvious protection for the ears are earplugs and ear muffs, semi insert and canal caps. It is imperative that the correct type of hearing protectors are used for the type of work and that those who are required to wear them are clearly instructed and know exactly how they are fitted.
The key to good ear protection is that the protection chosen reduces the noise to an acceptable level so that it still enables the wearer to be aware of safety and communication.
- Respiratory (lungs)
So the lungs are not located above shoulder, but Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) is placed over the nose and mouth to protect the airways and lungs from potentially damaging dusts, gases and vapours.
Choosing a filter depends on the type of use – so if it is just protection from contaminants in the workplace air; filtering face pieces and respirators are required. It is absolutely essential these fit the wearer correctly. 💡Remember – filters have a shelf life and use the correct filter as some will only be effective on a limited range of substances.
Useful guides to refer to for further information on the HSE website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg174.pdf – PPE guide