Personal Protective Equipment: Why is PPE important?

Why is PPE important? Making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly. Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to: the lungs, e.g. from breathing in contaminated air; the head and feet, e.g. from falling materials; the eyes, e.g. from flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids; the skin, e.g. from contact with corrosive materials; the body, e.g. from extremes of heat or cold. PPE is needed in these cases to reduce the risk.

Source: HSE Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

 

Only use PPE as a last resort. Risk assessment and the application of engineering controls and safe systems of work are the priorities in any situation. However, there are occasions when these measures cannot eliminate all of the risks, and a person may need personal protective equipment to reduce the risk. Employers must provide appropriate personal protective equipment to employees free of charge and the PPE must be chosen very carefully.

Visit the HSE page Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to find out the reasons why PPE is important. The page covers the types of personal protective equipment available, and the areas of the body that could potentially be injured if PPE isn’t worn properly. There is a section on the selection and use of personal protective equipment and the importance of using PPE that is certified and CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002.

Risk assessment in any work process is vital. It is only through working through a risk assessment before work starts that you can fully understand the risks. Adequate training in the proper use and maintenance of the appropriate personal protective equipment is critical too. There is little point in using the wrong PPE or not using it properly.

Why is PPE important? As a last resort, personal protective equipment can mean the difference between going home healthy from work, or suffering injury, ill health or worse.

(Assembly line workers wearing PPE while welding – Image by kind permission of Seton UK)

 

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