The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

UK PPE Regulations (2002)

Graham Marshall - Monday, March 04, 2013

In the United Kingdom, the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (2002); and the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992, as amended) provide the main requirements to be met for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work.

Other special regulations cover hazardous substances (including lead and asbestos), and also noise and radiation.

In the UK, every employer has a duty (where necessary) regarding the provision and use of PPE.

PPE is equipment that will protect workers against known hazards at work.

PPE can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.

It also includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include hazards which could impact on:

+  The lungs (e.g., hazardous substances);

+  The head and ears (e.g., kinetic hazards and noise);

+  The eyes (e.g., kinetic hazards, radiation hazards (UV) or chemicals);

+ The skin (e.g., hazardous substances such as acids); and

+  The body, hands and feet (kinetic hazards, chemicals, bio-hazards, radiation sources, etc).

So, if PPE is still needed after implementing other controls, employers must provide the PPE for employees free of charge.

Employers must also choose the PPE carefully and ensure employees are trained to use it properly, and know how to detect and report any faults in the PPE.

In selecting and using PPE, the employer should ask: Who is exposed to the hazards and what type? How long are they exposed to the hazards? How much hazard are they exposed to?

When selecting and using PPE, make sure to select products which are CE marked in accordance with the PPE Regulations (2002).

Purchase only from reputable suppliers who can advise you on PPE equipment that suits the user. If in doubt, seek further advice from a specialist.

Employers must never allow exemptions from wearing PPE for those jobs that ‘only take a few minutes'.

And ensure that PPE is properly looked after and stored when not in use.

If the PPE is reusable, it must be cleaned and kept in good condition and regularly inspected according to a schedule.

Also ensure to use the correct replacement parts which match the original (e.g., respirator filters).

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