In the health and safety world, PPE is considered the last resort after working through a hierarchy of control trying to eliminate, substitute, engineer out or use administrative controls to manage risk. If, after all that, you decide you still need PPE to protect workers (which is very common), that item of PPE is the difference between safe and unsafe!
It is this reason why selecting the right PPE is so important, along with ensuring the user not only uses it, but uses it correctly all the time.
With changing legislation regarding PPE, the quality of items available on the market is increasing, along with the knowledge about protection they should provide, which is great for consumers and safety in general.
Although the right safety gear is extremely important, it is also important to raise awareness of the hazards associated with incorrect use of PPE.
Here is our checklist for keeping your PPE compliance in check:
- Do you need it? Is there a better safer way to control the hazard?
- All PPE must be CE marked.
- When selecting PPE involve staff in the selection process, after all they will be wearing it.
- Does the PPE fit the user? Respirators must be fitted to the user through a face fit test. Other items must fit and be comfortable for the user.
- Is there a facility to clean and store PPE safely? This is a simple fix and will prolong the life of equipment (saving you money).
- Do staff know where to get PPE from and how to wear it properly. Point of use posters showing how to fit PPE is available from most manufacturers.
- Teach staff how to remove contaminated PPE without contaminating their skin.
- Do staff know where and when to wear PPE? simple toolbox talks, briefs, meetings, inductions, posters, signs etc will all help this.
- Check PPE regularly to make sure it is not damaged, if it is, replace it and dispose of the damaged item.
- If users wear several items of PPE, do they work together? i.e. do goggles interfere with a respirator causing leaks?
- Spot check staff to ensure they are wearing the right PPE and wearing it correctly. There may be a genuine reason why staff do not like wearing PPE, find out why and source different better PPE.
If you need help selecting the right PPE or need advice, please get in touch info@LESHonline.co.uk or visit www.LESHonline.co.uk.