Personal Protection Equipment or PPE, is mandatory by legislation (Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974) and should be provided to employees at no-cost. But are employers holding onto PPE that really needs to be replaced because they don’t want to spend the money?
At the end of the day failing to provide adequate health and safety for employees is going to be a larger expense than replacing PPE such as a pair of gloves. Would you prefer to spend a few pounds replacing gloves, time in prison, a fine, or the loss of a life? I’m guessing the first option is your answer.
Just remember that your goal is to stop injury and fatality, and although PPE is considered the last rung on the hierarchy of control ladder, it’s just as important nonetheless.
Examples of PPE
Examples of providing PPE include, but aren’t limited to:
- Head protection – for example, helmets and hats
- Respiratory protection – for example, masks and respirators
- Face protection – for example, shields
- Ear protection – for example, earmuffs and ear plugs
- Eye protection – for example, goggles and glasses
- Hand protection – for example, gloves
- Foot protection – for example, boots and shoes
- Body protection – for example, protective clothing
It should also be noted that the PPE you provide should fit the wearer properly. Ill fitting PPE can become hazardous and cause further risks to the people wearing them and those around them.
When should employers replace PPE?
The answer is it depends on each individual PPE you are working with. PPE should be properly cared for by supplier instructions and of course, have the CE mark.
If you think that your PPE is faulty or is carrying a counterfeit CE mark, talk to a reputable supplier or consultant who can immediately assist with your concerns. Using cheaper counterfeit products is serious, as you are putting lives in danger. If you haven’t already created a procedure for reviewing and replacing your PPE, it’s probably wise to do so immediately. Remember there are organisations who can help you get this sorted if internal resources are at capacity.
There are however some basic warning signs that PPE needs replacing such as, rips, tears, holes, discoloration, degrading and soiling. As an employer it’s also your responsibility to train your staff about how to use, care and store their PPE, to ensure optimal safe usage and disposal of the product.
In the event that PPE does need to be replaced it’s a good idea to have suitable replacement PPE on hand. It may also be useful to have disposable PPE ready available for any visitors that may also require protecting.
At the end of the day, you must ensure that PPE is provided to your team, they are using it and that it is clean, hygienic and in good working order. PPE is there to minimise any risks to your staff so it’s best to keep a close eye on how your employees treat, care for and use their PPE.
Image source: Pexels
Find the right safety products for your workplace and people: