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The Importance of PPE

The Importance of PPE

The Importance of PPE

What is PPE?

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is defined as equipment that protects the user/wearer from health & safety risks in the workplace. This equipment can range from gloves and goggles to harnesses and RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment).

Why is it important?

PPE is crucial in various industries, obviously having the most impact on environments that are considered dangerous.

Even where safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:

  • the lungs, eg from breathing in contaminated air
  • the head and feet, eg from falling materials
  • the eyes, eg from flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids
  • the skin, eg from contact with corrosive materials
  • the body, eg from extremes of heat or cold

Types of PPE:

Eye protection is hugely important when working around chemicals, dust, gas and even radiation. Essential eye protection can include face screens, face shields, goggles and safety spectacles.

Head & Neck
It is essential to ensure that the head and neck areas are protected at all times – head and neck injuries are not only common but also carry a high level of risk. Something as simple as not wearing the correct hairnet could result in serious injury or in the worst cases, death. In order to protect the wearer from bumps to the head, falling objects, chemical splashes and anything else they may encounter, the following types of head and neck equipment can be essential: Hairnets, scarves, bump caps and helmets. Always ensure that this equipment is kept in good condition and replace in the event of an incident.

Obviously, the main risk to the ears is excessive noise, which is often present in workplaces where machinery is used - e.g. construction, manufacturing etc. The best protection against this includes earplugs, noise cancelling headphones and canal caps.

Working in a high-risk environment means that unprotected hands and arms are at risk of vibration, abrasion, cuts/punctures, electrocution, radiation and more. Keep yourself protected with gloves, cuffs, sleeves and if necessary, finger guards.

When working in any environment where there is risk of heavy objects falling on feet and legs it is essential that the correct footwear is worn, such as steel toe capped reinforced boots or wellingtons. This also applies to environments where one or more limb may be submerged in liquid for any period of time.

We carry a large range of PPE suitable for most jobs but if you’re struggling to find what you’re looking for let us know – we’ll do everything we can to get you what you need!


PPE must be properly looked after and stored when not in use, eg in a dry, clean cupboard. If it is reusable it must be cleaned and kept in good condition.

  • using the right replacement parts which match the original, eg respirator filters
  • keeping replacement PPE available
  • who is responsible for maintenance and how it is to be done
  • having a supply of appropriate disposable suits which are useful for dirty jobs where laundry costs are high, eg for visitors who need protective clothing.

Employees must make proper use of PPE and report its loss or destruction or any fault in it.

Monitor and review

  • Check regularly that PPE is used. If it isn’t, find out why not
  • Make sure there are plenty of safety signs visible about using PPE.
  • Take note of any changes in equipment, materials and methods – you may need to re inform staff and update the equipment when necessary

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