Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is any device worn or held to protect you from health and safety hazards. PPE is the last control measure and should only be provided where the risks cannot be avoided or limited by other means.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to:
- carry out a risk assessment to ensure the correct type of PPE is provided
- source PPE which is user-friendly fits the employee correctly and has the appropriate CE mark
- organise training in the use of PPE where necessary
- supervise the wearing of PPE
Take special care where an employee suffering from a medical condition is impacted when wearing Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE). You should seek medical advice as to whether they can tolerate the use of RPE.
As a manager, you should tell your employees about the risks that PPE is protecting them from.
Your employees should have training in the use, maintenance and limitations of PPE.
The training required depends on the level of risk and how complex the equipment is to use. For example, using respiratory equipment will need comprehensive training and regular refresher courses. Training in using protective gloves may need demonstration only.
Two education modules on putting on and taking off PPE safely are available on HSELand
- One is for staff in acute settings. Search ‘putting on and taking off PPE in acute healthcare settings’
- The second is for staff in community settings. Search ‘putting on and taking off PPE in community healthcare settings’.
As an employee, it is your responsibility to:
- use PPE properly
- report any defects in the PPE immediately to your manager
- participate in training on PPE
- ensure the PPE is stored and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions
- tell your manager of any medical conditions that may be affected by using the PPE