For more information on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be a "last resort" but often is not. Wherever possible prevention, engineering controls or safe systems of work that could eliminate the hazard, and so the employment of PPE, should be used instead.
HSE defines PPE as "all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects against one or more risks to their health or safety e.g. safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses." All PPE required to protect a worker must be provided free of charge by employers.
Introduction of PPE may introduce new hazards to workers. For example, disposable latex gloves used by health workers are made from natural rubber and are a major cause of allergic contact dermatitis and other allergic conditions. PPE is often designed for male bodies, for women workers this may introduce serious hazards. Ill-fitting protective garments will have their effectiveness compromised, overly large gloves may get caught in machinery.
The TUC has produced a guide for safety representatives on feet and footwear. Many problems are caused by inadequate footwear. Work in any environment where there is a risk of slipping requires slip-resistant shoes. Where there is the risk of a shoe being crushed or hit by an object, or even caught in machinery, safety footwear must be provided. If there is the possibility of standing on nails or other sharp objects then the employer must provide puncture resistant soles. The TUC guide "Working feet and footwear" can be found at: http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/footwear.pdf
The most recent documents available on this subject are:Fake safety equipment 'could kill'
Construction union UCATT is warning all construction workers to make sure that their protective equipment is genuine, following fresh concerns that fake safety equipment has made its way onto sites.PDF version available for download
A UK hard hat manufacturer is urging contractors to check their site workers' helmets after a potentially lethal batch of poor quality counterfeits was discovered.PDF version available for download
A mechanical engineer developed a painful skin condition when he was exposed to chemicals at work.PDF version available for download
Construction union UCATT has written to the Health and Safety Executive calling on the official safety regulator to prevent personal protective equipment being sold on site through vending machines.PDF version available for download
Construction union UCATT is warning that using vending machines to sell life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) on sites risks workers' safety and could be illegal. The union alert came after UK vending machine specialist VendEase announced i...PDF version available for download
More than one in five workers is being forced to pay for lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE), despite laws that say employers must provide it free of charge. TUC survey findings released this week report more than one in every 10 (11.6 per...PDF version available for download
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printed 24 May 2013 at 12:56 hrs by 126.96.36.199