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Personal Protective Equipment

Where there are potentially hazardous substances present in the workplace you should take steps to control the exposure of employees.

Ideally exposure should be eliminated by replacement with less hazardous substances. If this is not possible then engineering controls should be introduced to reduce exposures to safe levels. Examples of engineering controls are:

  • The use of local exhaust ventilation and extraction to collect dusts and fumes, removing them from the workplace 
  • The use of soundproof enclosures to reduce workplace noise levels

If such controls have yet to be installed, are not possible or do not provide sufficient protection then personal protective equipment (PPE) will be necessary. But the use of PPE must always be regarded as a last resort.

There are some key issues that need to be taken into account when considering the use of PPE:

  • Employees should be involved in the selection of suitable PPE 
  • PPE selected should be suitable for the risks 
  • Ergonomic issues, fit and general usability must all be considered 
  • Procedures for maintenance, cleaning and replacement must be set up 
  • Employees must be trained in the use of the PPE 
  • Employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure the PPE is used

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 seeks to ensure that where risks cannot be controlled by other means, PPE is correctly selected and used. Any use of PPE must be controlled. It is essential to obtain confirmation from employees that they have received the PPE together with training in its use, cleaning and maintenance. Simply handing out PPE will not provide a defence against a future claim that hinges on whether PPE was suitable, available or used.

Next Steps

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Please Note
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.

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