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Written by
on 24 March 2013


If you’re an employer you have to follow your duties concerning PPE: personal protective equipment. PPE is used to help protect individuals from risks that they face at work. There are many different types of equipment that can be used, ranging from helmets to safety harnesses. There are many examples of types of work where PPE is required such as:

Where Personal Protective Equipment is needed

  • Working in extreme heat or cold environments
  • When working in areas with contaminated air
  • For protection from falling materials

Protective equipment can be used to reduce risks to various parts of the body including:

  • Face
  • Ears
  • Hands and arms
  • Heads
  • Feet and legs
  • Neck
  • Lungs
  • The entire body

The way to determine the types of equipment that are required is by conducting risk assessments, reviewing the assessments and creating a safe working system.  However, PP should only be used as a last resort. Other control measures need to be introduced first and if the risks are still not fully or suitably controlled the safety equipment can be introduced.

Employees must supply the required PPE free of charge to their employees. The employees also need to have suitable training to use the equipment and know how to check it over for any damage or defaults and be aware that the faults must be reported to the right person within your firm.

PPE Selection Process

When looking at introducing personal protective equipment you must ask these questions:

  • Who needs the equipment and what risks are they being exposed to?
  • How long are the workers exposed to the risks for?
  • How much are they exposed to?

After you have answered those questions you need to select the right equipment. All of the items used have to be CE marked so they are complying with the Personal protective Equipment Regulations. The sizes must be correct and the weight needs to be considered so the individual is able to work comfortably and not have any additional health or safety issues to content with.

If more than one piece of equipment is required you must check to see that each piece is compatible with the other. So if you have to provide breathing equipment with goggles and a helmet make sure that all three can be worn safely together so they each provide the level of protection required.

Contact your health and safety consultants if you need to establish what PPE is required to reduce the risks to your workers. You can also use the health and safety services to determine what the risks are or to provide training to your employees. Call us on 0800 1488 677 to learn more.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.