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Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Personal protective equipment (PPE) basics from HSE

Employers are responsible for providing, replacing and paying for personal protective equipment.

PPE should be used when all other measures are inadequate to control exposure. It protects only the wearer, while being worn.

If it fails, PPE offers no protection at all.

Types of PPE

When deciding about PPE ask the supplier, your trade association or the manufacturer.

  • Is it suitable for the conditions of the job?
  • Does it offer the right level of protection?
  • What sort of training or maintenance is required?
  • How do I know when it needs replacing?

It is important that employees know why they need PPE and are trained to use it correctly. Otherwise it is unlikely to protect as required.

  • Does it fit correctly?
  • How does the wearer feel? Is it comfortable?
  • Are all items of PPE compatible?
  • Does PPE interfere with the job being done?
  • Does PPE introduce another health risk, eg overheating, entanglement with machinery?
  • If PPE needs maintenance or cleaning, how is it done?

When employees find PPE comfortable they are far more likely to wear it.

In the UK, the HSE is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness.

It is an independent regulator and acts in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain’s workplaces.

HSE runs award-winning and hard-hitting campaigns tackling issues which result in death, serious injury and illness. The campaigns deal with real dangers like asbestos, which kills approximately 4000 per year, and agriculture, one of the most dangerous industries in the UK.

As an independent regulator, HSE puts those who put others in danger before the courts and provides support to businesses in helping them understand and manage their legal duties. HSE works with co-regulators in local authorities to inspect, investigate and – where necessary – take enforcement action. Ultimately, HSE is working to help sustain an innovative, technological and progressive economy, with prosperous companies and safe workplaces.

180 people lost their lives as a result of their work last year (08/09) and around 1.2 million people are made ill or are injured at work each year.

To reduce these numbers, save more lives and stop people being seriously injured or maimed at work, HSE is working with all those who can contribute: employees; business leaders; workers; and workers’ representatives, to name just a few.

This strategy is helping HSE put the focus back on real health and safety. It represents a clear statement of principles and a sensible approach to health and safety in Great Britain.

Contacting HSE

Ask Infoline:  0845 345 0055, Feedback form, Request a call back, Text HSE to 64446

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

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