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Assessing Whether PPE will be Suitable

Published by Safety Net Team

April 28, 2022

Assessing Whether PPE will be Suitable

If it has been ascertained through a risk assessment that PPE is the only practicable form of protection, then an evaluation must be made to ensure that the PPE is suitable for the risks involved and the circumstances of use.

The nature of the task and the demands it places upon the worker must be taken into account. This should include the physical effort required, methods of work, length of time the PPE is to be worn and the requirements for visibility and communication.

It is important that a practical and technically suitable choice of models or types of PPE is offered.

The questions listed can be used to help reach a decision on whether the PPE is suitable and on which type of PPE should be used.

  • What hazards do people need protection against? This should consider:
    • hazardous substances
    • moving vehicles
    • wet and cold weather
    • sunshine
    • drowning
    • slips
    • hot or cold surfaces.
  • What is the nature of the job and what demands does it place on the people doing it? The people doing the job need to be involved. The following should be considered.
    • How much physical effort is required?
    • How is the job done, ie what methods are used?
    • How long does the PPE need to be worn for?
    • Are there special requirements in an emergency?
    • Are there any features of the area and workstations where the PPE will be used that will affect its use, eg a confined space?
    • Are there any specific requirements that the job imposes on the PPE?
  • What part of the body needs to be protected? This should include protecting:
    • eyes
    • head
    • hands
    • arms
    • torso
    • legs
    • feet
    • whole body.
  • Who will be using the PPE? What is the range of sizes and styles required to make sure it will fit all of them?
  • Do any of the PPE users have any health conditions which could affect their ability to use the equipment? For example, people who need to wear spectacles won’t be able to use all types of eye protection.
  • Is there any way the PPE might increase the overall risk? For example, gloves can reduce grip strength, make it harder for people to use equipment and create entanglement risks. Safety shoes with steel toe-caps can increase the and may present an ignition source in flammable atmospheres unless encased.
  • What other PPE does it need to be compatible with?

PPE suppliers should be consulted to obtain information on the suitability and the levels of protection provided by their equipment. Information should also be sought on sizes in the range and the comfort levels afforded.

All PPE selected should be CE marked.

Once the types of PPE have been selected, it is advisable to have a trial period for staff to try it out in practice. The trial should check that the PPE provides the expected protection and reduces the risks to an acceptable level For example, does safety footwear provide better grip in slippery areas? Do gloves provide an impervious barrier and keep the users’ hands dry and clean?

This approach should help those responsible to choose PPE that is not only effective, but which will give minimum discomfort to the wearer. Involvement of the staff may also improve conformity with rules with regard to its use.

For more  information go to get free advice and request a call back.

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