Understanding What PPE Protects Us Against

Personal Protective Equipment is a term that has increased in usage significantly over the past year, particularly when discussing viruses and the risk of infection. The general population has become much more familiar with the phrase and even use it in daily conversation. However, many remain unsure about what PPE protects us from, and how.

When used correctly, PPE protects the user or wearer against a variety of health and safety risks. Not only does PPE refer to face masks and face visors, as we’ve seen in recent months, but also equipment that protects against any health or safety hazard. This can include helmets, protective goggles, high-visibility clothing, gloves, and safety footwear. In light of recent events, however, the term PPE has become almost synonymous with the small portion of it which is designed to protect against viral and bacterial infection.

What Does PPE Protect You From?

There is a broad range of PPE available and each piece of equipment has been designed to specifically protect the wearer or other people in certain ways. What PPE does is provide an effective barrier against a risk or hazard, and give staff confidence to work in safety. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Face masks to protect the lungs from contaminated air
  • Helmets to protect the head from falling objects
  • Gloves to protect the hands from corrosive materials or contaminated surfaces
  • Goggles to protect the eyes from corrosive liquids or flying particles
  • High-visibility clothing to make staff more visible to those around them
  • Safety footwear to protect the feet from falling objects

In the EU, there are a range of PPE standards which ensure that the equipment is suitable for its intended use. For more information about the medical classifications, read our blog on Purchasing Different Types of PPE.

Even with certain procedures and training in place, hazards may be unavoidable, so a thorough risk assessment should be carried out before identifying the types of PPE needed in the workplace.

What Is The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992?

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 is a law that was introduced to ensure that PPE is correctly identified and put into use where risks cannot be controlled by other means. These regulations highlight the importance of PPE in the workplace and how risks are to be defined.

The regulations also state that every employer should ensure that PPE is provided to their employees who may be exposed to a risk while at work. The only exception to this is where a risk has been managed by other equally or more effective means. This means that if your employer has undertaken a risk assessment and has identified that PPE equipment is required, it should be provided within the workplace. Failure to provide the correct PPE is unlawful, as outlined in the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Whether the workplace is a hospital, a building site or a warehouse, there should be adequate PPE in place, along with instructions on how to use the equipment properly. Procedures, training and supervision should also be provided to encourage staff to work safely and responsibly.

How Clarity Can Help

Clarity Global Group have many years of experience in distributing PPE to ensure that workplaces offer the correct equipment to promote good hygiene and protect their staff from infection. Our range of PPE equipment includes disposable gloves, face masks and visors, all of which are suitable to use in a range of environments.

If you have more questions about PPE, whether that’s what PPE does, or how PPE protects your employees, contact us and we will be happy to help.