Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

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Overview

Further reference:
– Health and Safety Executive microsite for PPE 
– A short guide to the Personal Protection Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection.

The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particulate matter.

Can I charge people for it?

Under Health & Safety law the Employers are responsible for providing, replacing and paying for personal protective equipment that should be of good quality and in good working order.

By virtue of Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HASAWA), no charge can be made to employees for the provision of PPE which is used only at work. The act states that:

“No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions” – HASAWA Section 9.

In this case, those that are volunteering must also be treated as an employee – and personal protection equipment should be provided to them without charge.

Self employed or freelance workers should provide their own PPE and the site or production manager should ensure that site PPE requirements are adhered to.

Types of PPE

Types of PPE that could be required on an event construction site could include:

  • High Visibility Vest to help ensure that drivers of vehicles and plant can see pedestrians.
  • Safety Shoes to protect feet from
    • Crush injuries from dropped objects
    • Puncture injuries from stepping on sharp objects like nails
    • Irritation from chemicals and/or hazardous substances that might have been spilled.
  • Hard hat for work in the vicinity of work at height or risk of falling objects
    • You may also consider bump caps for people working in confided spaces where they might hit their heads.
  • Helmet with a chin strap (for work at height)
  • Dust mask (for activities producing dust such as some sawing, grinding, sweeping)
  • Eye protection for activities producing sparks, dust or particles.
  • Gloves for manual handling and working with items which could cause damage to hands such as rough sawn timber. You may also consider latex gloves when dealing with chemicals or substances that might cause irritation to skin.

Effectiveness of PPE

PPE should only be used when all other measures are inadequate to control exposure to a hazard.

For example it is safer to stop people from working under an area where work is going on at height rather than issue workers with hard hats. The hard hats will reduce the effect of someone being hit by a falling object where as stopping people from working underneath the area in question eliminates that risk altogether.

PPE only protects only the wearer whilst it is being worn so it is important that workers know why they need PPE and are trained to use it correctly, otherwise it is unlikely to protect as required.

Everyone working on site should be notified in advance about what PPE that will be required to ensure compliance.

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