Personal Protective Equipment is sometimes abbreviated to PPE. It’s a catch-all term that relates to many types of clothing and equipment designed to protect you while you are at work. Not all jobs require personal protective equipment to be worn. Moreover, some jobs may require several different types of it, while others may only need one or two types.
Personal Protective Equipment can refer to many things. We’ve listed a few of the more common ones here:
- Safety boots
- Safety helmets
- Air filtration masks
- Protective gloves or gauntlets
- Earplugs or other hearing protectors
- Boiler suits
- Chemical suits
As you can see, PPE comes in lots of different varieties. It is the duty of every employer to work out if their employees need any personal protective equipment. In some jobs, some workers may require one or more PPE items, whereas others may not need anything at all. For example, someone working in an office is unlikely to need anything. In contrast, someone working in a factory might require steel toe-capped boots. Others who work with dangerous chemicals may need a full-body chemical-resistant suit complete with head gear and breathing equipment.
The importance of risk assessments
Risk assessments are a vital component of today’s health and safety regulations. A risk assessment can identify the potential dangers in conducting a task or job. The idea is to identify the risks and find a safer way of doing the work if possible. For example, if work needs to be done on a roof, does it need to be done from the outside? Could it be done from inside the building instead of being completed out in the elements? This isn’t always the case, but it can help identify safer working practices.
Risk assessments can help prevent all kinds of injuries. Various elements of personal protective equipment are designed to help minimise the chances of injuries or illnesses developing. We’ve included some examples here:
- Goggles – prevent eye injuries caused from fumes, heat or sharp objects
- Safety helmets – prevent head injuries
- Air filtration masks – prevent the inhalation of fumes and other contaminants in the air
- Protective gloves – can protect the wearer against heat, chemical burns and other substances that can harm the skin
- Hearing protectors – to protect against loss of hearing
- Chemical suits – to prevent contact with dangerous chemicals
- Steel toe-capped boots – to protect the toes and feet against anything that might fall onto them
These are just a handful of examples. The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 provide more in-depth information concerning all PPE and how it should be used and applied in real-life situations. All employers should be familiar with this and review it regularly to determine how it applies to their workplace.
Can basic checks be made to reduce the odds of illness and injury?
Yes, very often simple checks are recommended. For example, if you are working in an environment where skin damage could potentially occur, the Health and Safety Executive recommends using the Avoid, Protect and Check method. This helps reduce the chances of damage occurring in the first place. It is always much easier to avoid injuries and illness than to cope with them when they occur.
Similar steps can be taken with dust and mist. HSE recommends the use of a dust lamp to spot any dust that might be in the atmosphere, and that could be inhaled if you’re not using appropriate breathing equipment or personal protective equipment. As you can see, there is much that can be done to reduce the odds of injury and illness.
Ill or injured as a result of your job?
Lots of injuries have the potential to be experienced in a workplace if proper health and safety rules are not followed as they should be. A lack of PPE can lead to an increased risk of illness or injury, too. Asbestos can be deadly if the fibres are inhaled, and can potentially lead to several illnesses:
- Asbestos-related lung cancer
- Diffuse pleural thickening
The HSE revealed 2,515 people died from mesothelioma in 2014, while 431 died from asbestosis. There is currently no cure for any disease caused by asbestos, and it can be many years between being exposed to this in the workplace and being diagnosed with an illness related to that exposure. Fortunately, today we have excellent health and safety regulations that require people working with asbestos to follow strict rules and to wear PPE as well.
Speak to one of our advisors today
It’s easy to see how powerful the use of personal protective equipment is. Without it, many more people would have experienced injuries and illnesses since the health and safety laws came into effect, and the PPE regulations as well. Yet if you think your employer has been negligent, or you have an asbestos-related illness that stems from a job you did years ago, getting no-obligation legal advice is vital to enable you to find out where you stand. You can do that today by calling one of the above numbers, or by choosing to complete our online test. It takes just 30 seconds to do this, and you’ll get some answers straight away. One of our trained advisors will then call you to find out more about what happened to you, and whether a lack of PPE could have been to blame. There could be a financial award waiting for you to claim, so call us today to see if that’s the case.
But if you have already fallen ill through wearing a lack of PPE, or you have been injured because you were not given the correct protective equipment, you could have a chance to receive compensation. Many individuals have already been awarded compensation in similar situations. You can find out if you have the chance to claim today, simply by ringing Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 5659.