Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is defined as ‘all equipment (inclusive of clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects them against one or more risks to their health or safety’ e.g. safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.
In order to ensure safety when carrying out a task or use a piece of equipment, sometimes it is necessary to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect employees from hazards.
This provision of equipment is encompassed within The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, 2002. These lay down the duties and requirements to be followed when supplying protective equipment to employees.
The provision of PPE in the workplace should always be viewed as the last line of defence against hazards and where necessary employers should always try to control hazards through other means (engineering controls, substitution, elimination, etc).
It must be remembered that PPE protects only the wearer and does not afford protection to anybody else in the vicinity.
The use of PPE can also introduce its own additional risks:
- Reduced visibility.
- Reduced hearing.
- Heat stress.
- Reduced sense of touch or grip.
These factors should always be considered when choosing which PPE is going to be used. Different types of PPE should be compatible and be able to be worn together when required.
PPE must be provided free of charge. This includes any PPE supplied to agency and temporary workers who are classed as employees.
Any non-employees such as contractors and visitors should also be wearing PPE of the same standards whilst on a site that is under your control.
- Before providing PPE, a business must ensure it is capable of protecting against the hazard it is supplied for.
- The business maintains and stores the equipment properly.
- Employees are instructed in the proper use of equipment.
- Where PPE is to be worn, employees use it properly.
- When PPE is stored, it is done so in a clean area where it is not likely to degrade or deteriorate.
- Where necessary, statutory inspections, maintenance and servicing is carried out on the PPE.
- Provide the protection required.
- Fit and be compatible with the user.
- Be consistent with other safety equipment worn.
A business has a duty to ensure that PPE is fit for use and is used where necessary. The wearing of PPE is mandatory and is not an option for choice where a risk assessment has identified that PPE is required.
Disciplinary action may be required for employees who consistently refuse to wear the necessary safety equipment as identified by a risk assessment.
When assessing equipment, the club must ensure that:
- The equipment is appropriate to deal with the hazard and the conditions where it is being used.
- It is relatively comfortable to wear.
- It doesn’t increase the overall risk level.
- It is adjustable or made to fit the wearer.
- PPE worn is compatible with other work equipment and PPE worn.
- Employees are physically able to wear the PPE for the length of time that is required, whilst carrying out the task.
- It is CE marked and complies with basic safety requirements and where necessary has been tested and certified.
- Where required, is tested to ensure the correct level of protection is obtained.
An employer, when providing PPE to employees must ensure that they are trained in:
- The proper use of the PPE.
- How to inspect for damage.
- Procedures for reporting and replacement of damaged and worn equipment.
An employer should make sure anyone using PPE is aware of:
- Why it is needed.
- When it is to be used, repaired or replaced.
- Its limitations.
A business should also ensure that users wear it all the time when they are exposed to the risk. Never allow exemptions for those jobs which take ‘just a few minutes’.
PPE is ineffective if:
- It is not used for the purpose that it was provided.
- Becomes worn or damaged and is not replaced.
- Not worn when required.
An employer must check regularly that PPE is being correctly worn and investigate fully any reasons why it is not. Safety signs can be useful reminders to users to wear PPE.
If the employer cannot carry out the monitoring of PPE use then they must ensure that proper monitoring of the wearing of PPE is carried out by another responsible employee.
An employer should also have in place necessary procedures that deal with non-compliance, including where necessary any disciplinary actions that may be taken.
The main requirements in relation to managing personal protective equipment are:
- Suitable and sufficient assessment on what protective equipment is needed for the tasks.
- Provision of an appropriate storage facility that personal protective equipment can be stored correctly.
- Provide suitable information, instruction and training (e.g. how to use, wear, inspect, store and maintain PPE).
- Give employees personal protective equipment that has been CE marked.
- Provide equipment that is compatible with each other.
- Provide personal protective equipment to staff free of charge.
Questions to Consider
- Are face fit tests carried out?
- Is personal protective equipment always considered as the last stage of protection?
- Is there a register for all personal protective equipment given to staff?
- Are staff aware of how to report issues regarding their PPE?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.