Why Personal Protective Equipment is important to you – PPE Blog
GAP Hire Solutions recently launched its brand new Interactive Toolbox Talks; with 15 interactive modules based on health and safety at work, this is an industry first. These modules, free to access via an online portal, highlight the risks and dangers that could arise in the workplace and explain how you can identify and avoid them.
GAP’s Interactive Toolbox Talks are intended to facilitate and enhance health and safety discussions, providing an educational aid to refresh workers’ knowledge and draw attention to the risks associated with their equipment and surroundings.
One of the 15 modules focuses on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE is equipment or clothing that should be worn to protect the user against health or safety risks at work. Although PPE is generally used as a last resort after other control and safety measures have been put in place, it is still incredibly important to safeguard against occupational hazards.
The most common items of PPE worn within the construction industry include, safety helmets, safety boots, high visibility clothing, gloves and goggles. Other examples of PPE are safety harnesses, ear defenders, dust masks and respirators.
A screenshot from the PPE Interactive Toolbox Talk module.
Why is PPE important?
In 2017/2018 there was a total of 144 work related deaths. The vast majority of these fatalities being within industries that GAP works closely with, especially within the construction industry, which had the highest mortality rate:
- 48% of fatal injuries and 19% of non-fatal injuries were due to falling from heights
- This could be avoided by using suitable safety harnesses
- 23% of deaths and 12% of serious injuries were due to being struck by a moving/falling object
- The use of hard hats/safety helmets can reduce or even prevent these injuries occuring
- Slips, trips and falls were the cause of 31% non-fatal injuries in the industry
- Wearing the correct and appropriate safety footwear could help to reduce these accidents
- Eye protection can save workers eyesight from potential risks and accidents
- Respiratory equipment and dust masks can reduce or prevent severe breathing and lung problems in employees, especially in later life
All employers have a duty of care concerning the provision and use of PPE at work. The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations require every employer to supply all the necessary PPE and ensure that it is used at work wherever the risks to employee health and safety cannot be sufficiently controlled in other ways.
All of GAP’s 140+ depots nationwide have minimum PPE requirement posters for every task.
Both the employer and employees should do a number of things to make sure the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations are being fulfilled. Some of these are listed below.
What must the employer do?
- Assess the risks to employees’ health and safety arising from work activities
- Try to organise work activities so that PPE is not necessary
- Supply employees with all the necessary PPE at no cost
- State where PPE is necessary
- Always ensure that employees are using PPE when needed
- Ensure that the selected PPE is suitable for the wearer and that the items are made to the required standard
- Ensure safety signs are in place to remind all employees of the need to wear PPE
- Replace defective or lost PPE as required at no cost to the user
- Instruct and train employees on its use and explain any limitations where necessary
What must the employee do?
- Use the PPE in accordance with instructions and training given
- Return PPE to its accommodation, where provided, after use
- Take reasonable care of PPE
- Report any defects or loss to your employer
- Always wear the PPE supplied for the task
There are a few key points to remember when it comes to appropriate and safe use of PPE, the most important being: PPE can save lives, it should be used properly and looked after.
Our Interactive Toolbox Talks are a fun and eye-catching way of engaging workers with health and safety regulations. The PPE module and many others, including hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), working at height, manual handling, electricity and slips, trips and falls, can be accessed for free online.
For more information on GAP’s Interactive Toolbox Talks in general, visit our website here.