Personal Protective Equipment

Introduction

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) require employers to meet basic duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment at work.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is defined as ‘all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him or her against one or more risks to his health or safety’.

In particular roles employees may be required to wear various types of PPE as part of the control measures to undertake their work safely; additionally this may also apply to students in some in teaching or research areas.

Examples of PPE include eye protection, gloves, safety footwear, high visibility clothing, and overalls.

PPE should only be considered where the risks to health and safety cannot be controlled adequately by other means and for this reason is regarded as ‘a last resort’ or ‘a last line of defence’ in the hierarchy of risk control.  The best method of control is elimination where this is possible.  For example, where an employee has to use a hazardous cleaning chemical which could potentially cause a risk to the eyes if splashed, the best method of control would be to eliminate that chemical and use a non-hazardous alternative.  The least effective method would be only to rely on the use of PPE, where the risk of injury would still remain.

The requirement and type of PPE necessary for the task must be assessed by the employer by carefully considering the different hazards in the workplace.  Some specialist types of PPE such as hearing protection and respiratory protective equipment are not covered by these Regulations because other regulations apply to them.

Policy

It is the policy of the University to reduce risk of injury, so far as is reasonably practicable, to those involved in work and others and to comply with the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) where it is assessed appropriate for PPE to be used as part of the safety control measures. 

Regulations

In summary, The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) require employers to-

  • Decide and assess what types of PPE (if required) should be supplied and used, where health and safety cannot be adequately controlled in other ways
  • Ensure it is suitable for the work involved, is ‘CE’ marked and complies with The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002
  • Ensure it is compatible with any other item that the users also need to wear and that its use does not create further uncontrolled hazards
  • Consider any individual health-related issue raised that might impact with use of PPE and seek appropriate advice from Occupational Health as necessary
  • Provide PPE free of charge and make it available for use as necessary
  • Supply PPE and make arrangements for any maintenance and proper storage
  • Provide instruction to intended users on how to use, care for, store and replace it
  • Ensure that PPE is being used correctly by employees and others

These Regulations require employees who use PPE to

  • Wear and use any PPE as instructed and trained for the work
  • Care for it and report its loss or damage so as to be able to obtain another as necessary
  • Observe any personal responsibilities i.e. for daily cleaning required
  • Inform the employer of any problems encountered with their PPE

Duties of responsible persons

Heads of Schools/Departments are to ensure that suitable persons are appointed to take responsibility for implementing this policy, to comply with regulations and to undertake suitable and sufficient risk assessments as necessary including assessment for the requirement of any PPE as a control measure.

Managers and supervisors are required to implement measures as required to comply with this policy including risk assessment and controls identified as requiring the use of PPE for the areas within their control/responsibility.

Assessment of any PPE required should be carried out as part of the risk assessment process where health and safety cannot be controlled adequately in other ways. Introduction of the use of PPE is to reduce risks to the wearer and must not be used if this is likely to create other uncontrolled risks, in which case further assessment of suitability will be required.

To secure health and safety in the use of PPE for work under their control, responsible persons in each School/Department are to:

in particular

  • Ensure its suitability for the work and the individual user
  • Ensure it is compatible with other PPE items that is also worn
  • Ensure that its use will not create other uncontrolled risks
  • Ensure that it is readily available to those who must wear it
  • Make suitable arrangements for issue, maintenance and storage
  • Give training in how to use it properly and the reasons why
  • Give instruction in how to obtain another and what to do if PPE becomes lost or broken
  • Take steps to ensure PPE is being used and worn correctly 

Further assistance is available from the Safety, Health and Environment Unit.

Duties of all employees using Personal Protective Equipment

All users of PPE are to:

  • Follow instructions and training and the safe system of work laid down for their safety.
  • Care for their PPE and follow rules for cleaning/storage, and reporting if lost, defective or broken.
  • Wear and use their PPE properly at all times whilst exposed to the risk.
  • Report to the manager/supervisor if this is not possible or if there are problems in using it.

 

Further information available from

HSE Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, (as amended)
HSE Guidance indg174 (rev1) A short guide to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
The Safety Health and Environment Unit