Personal protective equipment (PPE) at work – what’s required of you as an Employer:

• You should properly assess it before use to make sure it is fit for purpose.

• It should be maintained and stored properly; provided with instructions on how to use it safely and used correctly by employees.

In order to meet those requirements, you need to ascertain whether the PPE protects the wearer from the risk in the conditions they are working. You need to make sure it doesn’t introduce risk such as communication or restricted vision issues. It needs to be compatible with any other item of PPE being worn. The latter is where it goes a bit wrong. So many reputable suppliers provide free information regarding the protection factors of their product but if an ill-fitting or incorrect mask makes your eye protection steam up it is obvious one of them will be removed.

Key messages for all employers to take on board are that PPE must be free to your employees; it must protect them from the hazards its was intended to; it needs to be stored correctly and ready for use; it needs to be compatible with any other item worn in the conditions your team are working in and you need to ensure your employees know how to wear it and maintain it correctly.