Last edited 23 Apr 2021

Personal protective equipment PPE


Personal protective equipment (PPE) can be used to protect people against health and safety risks.

Personal protective equipment might include:

  • Eye protection.
  • Face covering.
  • Gloves.
  • Harnesses.
  • Hearing protection.
  • High-visibility clothing.
  • Protective clothing.
  • Respiratory equipment.
  • Safety footwear.
  • Safety helmets.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 control the use of PPE at work, other than respiratory equipment, cycle helmets and crash helmets which are covered by other regulations.

Employers are responsible for providing personal protective equipment in the workplace free of charge, however, it should be used only as a last resort, when exposure to risks cannot be adequately controlled in other ways.

If it is not used, or if it fails PPE, does not provide protection and so it is important to ensure that PPE is:

  • Assessed to ensure it offers the right level of protection.
  • Suitable for the conditions and duration of use.
  • Does not interfere with the job.
  • Does not introduce another risk (such as heat stress or inability to communicate).
  • Maintained, cleaned, stored and replaced properly, with responsibility for these activities clearly allocated and understood.
  • Checked for defects.
  • Provided with instructions and training.
  • Used correctly.
  • ‘CE’ marked and compliant with the requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations.
  • The correct size, fit and weight.
  • Easy to adjust.
  • Comfortable – if possible let the user choose it.
  • Compatible with other items.
  • Checked to ensure it remains suitable when the job changes.

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