Ensure that your staff are protected against risk.

The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment: What You Need to Know

Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE for short, is an important part of any workplace safety plan. Considered one of the most important tools you can use, each employer has a duty to protect their staff by providing adequate PPE.

This is a mandatory legislation; PPE is integral in creating a safe environment. Designed to prevent injuries and infections, companies must use controlled measures and provide training where necessary.

Whether you’re a construction worker, lab technician, or healthcare professional, it’s crucial to know what safety clothing and PPE is and why it’s so important.

On this page, we will discuss what personal protective equipment is and why it is so important. We will also cover some of the most common types of PPE and how to choose the right products for your needs.

Choosing the Right Personal Protective Equipment

When it comes to choosing personal protective equipment, it’s important to consider the type of hazard you’re exposed to. You’ll also need to think about what type of safety clothing or equipment will be most comfortable for you or your employees to wear.

Why is Personal Protective Equipment Important?

Personal protective equipment is important because it can help to prevent injuries and infections. Injuries and infections can lead to time off work, hospitalisation, and even death. By using PPE, you can help to reduce the risks associated with your job.

If you work in a laboratory, you may be exposed to dangerous chemicals. By wearing gloves and a respirator, you can help to protect your hands and lungs from these hazardous substances.

In another example, construction workers are often exposed to noise levels that exceed what is safe for human ears. Wearing earplugs or earmuffs will aid in preventing damaged hearing or tinnitus.

    What is Personal Protective Equipment?

    Personal protective equipment is any type of gear or safety clothing that is designed to protect your body from harm. PPE can be used in a variety of settings, including workplaces, schools, labs, construction, hospitals and more.

    There are many different types of personal protective equipment available on the market with some safety clothing needing specialist industry European standards.

    Each type of personal protective equipment is designed to protect your body from a specific type of hazard. For example, safety glasses will protect your eyes from flying debris, while hard hats can protect your head from falling objects.

    Some of the most common PPE features include:

    When to Replace Your PPE

    There are some basic warning signs that PPE will need replacing including the below:

    • Damaged, defective or worn out
    • Cracked, gouged, excessively scratched, ill-fitting, or broken
    • If the equipment is exposed to excess dust, sunlight, humidity, extreme cold / heat, and chemicals
    • Heavily soiled or anything damaged from UV rays, chemicals, sunlight or tearing (clothing)
    • If the PPE no longer works to provide safety
    • When the shelf life recommended by the supplier has expired
    • Throw away disposable PPE after use

    If you do need to replace any PPE it is recommended to have a suitable replacement PPE on hand. If you have any visitors at your workplace, it is useful to have disposable PPE ready available in case they require protection.

    You will need to ensure that PPE is provided to your team, they are using it correctly and that it is clean, hygienic and in good working order.

    Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

    The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 is enforced when risk to employee safety cannot be controlled using standard health and safety precautions. Legislation states that PPE must be supplied free of charge should the employee need it in order to carry out their role safely.

    In order to comply with Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, you need to:


    • Do a risk assessment of the workplace and identify what hazards there are and what PPE is necessary
    • Ensure that PPE meets the relevant British or European Standards
    • Train employees in how to use PPE (link to our training)
    • Maintain and store PPE properly
    • Keep records of risk assessments and PPE provided

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