Code of Practice No. 8. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AT WORK (PPE)

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1 Code of Practice No. 8. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AT WORK (PPE) Date Originated October 2001 Date Reviewed March 2008 Date of Next Review March DEFINITION Personal protective equipment is defined in law as clothing and equipment, which specifically protects the wearer/user from work hazards. Ordinary working clothes, which are not specifically for protection, are not included in the definition, neither are devices used for signalling risks, e.g. mobile telephones. 2. REQUIREMENT Under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, every employer must provide PPE for employees who may be exposed to risk to their health and safety whilst at work. In addition there are specific requirements under other acts such as the Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, the Noise at Work Regulations 2005, and the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations PPE should be the last control measure considered when producing a risk assessment for an activity. PPE only offers protection to the user and does not prevent or reduce the likelihood of an accident, nor does it protect others who may also be at risk. As part of the risk assessment process risks should be minimised as much as possible by other means. PPE may still be required to control the risk adequately. 3. SELECTION, USE AND MAINTENANCE OF PPE Before choosing any PPE, the employer must make an assessment of the required characteristics of the PPE for it to be effective against the risks, and make a comparison of the PPE available to determine if it is suitable. This assessment must be reviewed if there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid or if there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates. PPE will either be personal to an employee - for example chainsaw boots, or will be shared between employees - for example work gloves and hard hats. In the case of PPE issued to an individual employee, it is the responsibility of that employee to maintain the PPE in a state which is fit for purpose and to inform the employer when repair or replacement is required. In the case of shared PPE it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the equipment is fit for purpose and is repaired or replaced as required. Regular examinations of shared PPE should therefore be carried out by trained staff, but the wearer should also check the item before using it. A sufficient stock of spare parts should be available to wearers. Manufacturers maintenance schedules (including replacement periods and shelf life) should be followed. Appropriate accommodation must be provided for PPE when not in use. The storage should be 8-1

2 adequate to protect the PPE from contamination, loss or damage by harmful substances, damp or sunlight. Where quantities of PPE are stored, equipment, which is ready for use, should be clearly segregated from that which is awaiting repair or maintenance. If more than one item of PPE is being worn, the different items of PPE must be compatible with each other. The employer must also inform, instruct and train employees in the risk(s) which the PPE will avoid or limit, the purpose and manner in which the PPE must be used and what action to take to keep the PPE in an efficient state, working order, good repair and hygienic condition. Employees must make full and proper use of PPE and return it to the accommodation provided when not in use and report to the employer any loss of, or defect in the PPE. Employers cannot charge employees for PPE used at work. 3.1 Head Protection (e.g. climbing helmets and hard hats) Head protection (hard hats conforming to BS5240) must be worn if there is a risk of falling objects or impacts (e.g. construction work, working in pits/quarries, tree-felling and tree surgery, etc.). For all woodland work including felling of trees, coppice or scrub of more than 4 inches (10cm) diameter at breast height, helmets must be worn. If the work involves material less than 4 inches (10cm) in diameter at breast height then it is up to the task leader to assess the need for hard hats. Fitting Head protection should: - be of an appropriate shell size for the wearer - have an easily adjustable headband - should not hinder the work being done (e.g. if a job involves work in windy conditions, especially at heights, or repeated bending, or constantly looking upwards, a secure retention system is required) - if worn with other PPE such as ear defenders or eye protectors, must allow them to be worn in safety and comfort Storage Head protection must: Be stored on a peg or a cupboard, not in direct sunlight including the back shelf of a car, or in hot, humid conditions Be visually inspected regularly for signs of damage or deterioration Be checked for damage to shell caused by impacts, or when the hat has been dropped Have sweatbands regularly checked or replaced 8-2

3 and replacement Head protection should be replaced at regular intervals, as recommended by the manufacturer. It will also need replacing when the harness is damaged or when the shell is damaged (e.g. when deeply scratched or cracked), or if it suffers from any blow, including dropping onto a concrete floor or similar impact. 3.2 Eye Protection (e.g. safety goggles, face shields) Eye protection must be worn when handling or coming into contact with any hazardous substances, when working with power-driven tools or hand tools where chippings are likely to fly up etc., where harmful substances or objects may enter the eye and when carrying out potentially hazardous activities such as fencing applications : Lenses that are scratched or pitted must be replaced as they may impair vision and their resistance to impact may be impaired. 3.3 Foot Protection (e.g. safety boots, Wellingtons, etc., and leg protection) Foot protection must be worn when engaged in construction and forestry, when using machinery, and when working in water. Selecting suitable foot protection depends on the hazard. should be made on the basis of suitability for protection, compatibility with the work and the requirements of the user. For those using machinery the specific instructions for foot protection set out in Code No 11 Practical Conservation will be followed. Where there is a risk of a load falling on the feet, steel toecaps are required. For chain sawing, anti-ballistic trousers must be worn. Safety footwear and leg wear should be checked regularly and discarded if worn or deteriorated. Laces should be checked and replaced if necessary. Stitching should be checked for loose, worn or cut seams.3.4 Head and Arm Protection (e.g. gloves, armlets and barrier creams) Hand and arm protection should be worn to protect against cuts and abrasions, extremes of temperature, skin irritation, contact with hazardous substances. Experience shows that barrier creams are less reliable than suitable gloves as a means of chemical protection. When sharpening hand tools, gloves offering adequate protection must always be worn. If however the tool is being wielded, then no glove should be worn on the operating hand as a better grip can be achieved. 8-3

4 When selecting suitable hand protection, gloves should give protection, be comfortable and fit the wearer. They should also be compatible with the work and the requirements of the user. Always follow manufacturers instructions and markings for appropriate use and level of protection. When selecting gloves for chemical protection, reference should be made to chemical permeation and resistance data by manufacturers. For those using machinery, the specific instructions of Code No. 11 Practical Conservation will be followed. Gloves should be maintained and checked regularly and discarded if worn or deteriorated. They should be free of holes and cuts and should not be distorted in shape. They should not leave a gap between the glove and the wearer s sleeve. They should be cleaned to the manufacturer s instructions. Gloves contaminated by chemicals should be washed as soon as possible and before removal from hands. Grossly contaminated gloves should be discarded. 3.5 Protective Clothing for the body (e.g. overalls, outfits to protect against the cold or wet weather, specialist clothing [chainsaw], high visibility clothing) Low risk chemicals can be protected against by wearing chemical-resistant clothing, overalls and laboratory coats made from uncoated cotton or nylon with a water-repellent finish. Strong solvents, oils and grease require heavier protection afforded by coats, overalls and aprons which are specially designed. The need for protective chainsaw, brush cutter and other machinery clothing is dealt with in Code No. 11 Practical Conservation. High visibility clothing should be worn in any areas where it is important to be seen to be safe e.g. working by roads or working in poor light. Protective clothing should only be used for the purpose intended. It should be maintained in good condition and checked regularly. It should be repaired and discarded if damaged. 3.6 Noise, Vibration and Ear Protection (e.g. ear defenders, ear muffs) Damage to the ear and hearing builds up gradually, but once damage is done there is no cure. Damage can include: sounds and speech become muffled, permanent ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or distorted sense of loudness. 8-4

5 This damage can be prevented by reducing noise levels (e.g. use of ear protection). It is the Trust s duty to assess when ear protection is necessary and what type is needed. As a rough guide, it is probable that a noise hazard exists if a conversation is difficult to hold at 2 metres. If you are working with a noisy machine, use ear defenders. By doing so you will be safeguarding your future hearing. Earplugs and ear valves are not suitable ear defenders because hygiene is critically important to avoid risk of ear infection, with possible damage to ears from infection. It is impossible to prevent dirt getting into these plugs. Earmuffs are at present the only practical alternative and these can be fitted to safety helmets or have neckbands or headband fitting. Some people experience great difficulty in wearing ear muffs and often complain of excessive perspiration and headache. If you are concerned about the use of ear protection or you are experiencing any side effects you should seek advice from your doctor. Some earmuffs are more effective at the lower frequency range of sounds and some at higher frequencies. It is important that the earmuff selected gives the reduction of sound, which is required for the particular machine. Most machinery needing ear protection is set out in Code No. 11 Practical Conservation. However, all machinery that could present a hazard must undergo risk assessment. Muffs and defenders must be kept clean and replaced if damaged in any way. Earplugs must only be used by the person to whom they are issued. 8-5

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