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Health and Safety

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

For more information on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be a "last resort" but often is not. Wherever possible prevention, engineering controls or safe systems of work that could eliminate the hazard, and so the employment of PPE, should be used instead.

HSE defines PPE as "all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects against one or more risks to their health or safety e.g. safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses." All PPE required to protect a worker must be provided free of charge by employers.

Introduction of PPE may introduce new hazards to workers. For example, disposable latex gloves used by health workers are made from natural rubber and are a major cause of allergic contact dermatitis and other allergic conditions. PPE is often designed for male bodies, for women workers this may introduce serious hazards. Ill-fitting protective garments will have their effectiveness compromised, overly large gloves may get caught in machinery.



Free HSE leaflets on PPE

US HSE OSHA guidance

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

London seeks to lead Britain in the challenge to secure better health and safety at work
A world class city must have world class workplaces, that means aspiring to and achieving world class standards of health and safety at work – not for some, but for all. And the roadmap for turning that dream into a reality includes there being a health and safety rep in every workplace in London and a positive and meaningful partnership between that rep, the employer, unions and the Health and Safety Executive. Those are the key messages from an event (today) organised by HSE London and the Southern and Eastern Region TUC for more than 200 London based health and safety reps.
19 November 2004

Electrical safety information sheet
This is one of a series of information sheets on construction. It covers electrical safety and tells you what you can do about it.
27 September 2004

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Northern TUC / HSE Training Day

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