Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an item held or worn by an individual which protects against one or more hazards. Example, hi-visibility jackets, safety footwear, hard hats and eye or ear protection, through to very specialist equipment such as fall arrest harnesses and specialist respirators. All PPE required to protect a worker must be provided free of charge by employers.
To be effective the equipment has to be able to do the job it is designed for. In part that means employers must make sure that the equipment is suitable for the job it is intended to do, but it also has to be of a quality that means it will not fail.
Safety representatives can help prevent problems with PPE by ensuring that their employer consults with them over the type of PPE they buy. They can also check that any PPE that is provided is legal.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) - from Hazards at Work book