Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) research suggests that in 60% of accidents where protection equipment would have prevented or reduced the severity of an injury, Personal Protection Equipment was either not provided, provided but not used or was the incorrect type of equipment. In any of these situations the employer is open to both criminal and civil action by the injured… and likely to be found negligent.

The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 aimed to improve employers understanding of providing specific equipment with legal penalties for those that did not. A key target of the legislation was the construction industry who account for a large amount of injuries and it was seen as an area they could improve upon by providing suitable equipment. Personal Protection Equipment not only offers immediate protection in some cases, it is vital is protecting against long term damage and ill health. arborist equipment 

The regulations require a business owner to complete a risk assessment to understand what risks are in their business and identify suitable control measures. Once the risks have been established, you need to see what you can do about removing them or introducing other activities to reduce the requirement to wear Personal Protection Equipment. The reason these types of equipment should be seen as a last resort are because:

– It only protects the person wearing it. Other staff could be at risk from the actions of the employee but how are they protected?

– For protection the equipment requires the user to wear it properly at all times; people can forget or not wear it correctly and therefore be at risk.

– Wearing Personal Protection Equipment can restrict movement or visibility and therefore introduce other issues to personal safety.

– Any equipment is unlikely to protect completely against all hazards.

Employers also have the following further duties to –

– Properly assess the protection provided to ensure it is suitable and will control the risks.

– Ensure the equipment is readily available.

– Meets the required standards. Various British Standards exist to ensure the equipment performs as required.

– Make sure the equipment is maintained and fit to use eg continues to perform as designed.

– Provide staff with information and instruction on how to use the equipment properly.

– Ensure staff are wearing Personal Protection Equipment when required.

Although the above duties sound too involved, it is not unreasonable for your staff to be protected from hazards at work and the main question to ask yourself is “what would I do in this situation and would I be happy wearing this equipment?” If you would not wear the equipment provided yourself, why would your staff?

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