PPE is the last thing we consider in our risk assessment before that we
must look at : elimination or substitution : Controls - either administrative
or engineering : if after looking at these, the only way of bringing the Risk
down to acceptable levels is PPE, then we must look at the protective equipment
we are going to provide.
The legislation involved is PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AT WORK
REGULATIONS 1992 which came into force on 1 January 1994 and like the rest of
the recent legislation requires us to RISK ASSESS.
There are certain main points we must consider
PPE is issued and worn depending on the circumstances of use :
PERSONAL means issued to the individual for his use only - only if it is unreasonable to consider individual PPE should PPE be shared.
ALL PPE must PROTECT in the circumstances of use.
There are advantages in giving out disposable PPE
The disadvantage is that it is expensive, but if only used occasionally it may be cost effective.
Let us consider the common PPE Groundsmen wear:
If anything is liable to fall on, or projectile liable to hit, an
operator then the operator should wear a hard hat. The hard hats can protect
against a stated impact - but will usually have a ' use by' date - usually 5
years but see your manufacturers instructions.
Usually used against pesticides - if used for this purpose should only
be used for pesticides.
Used to work in adverse weather conditions - if used for this purpose
should not be used for pesticide application.
Different uses require different specification e.g.
Usually extending to just below the knee and used NOT turned down.
Used in any case that it is possible damage to toes could occur e.g.
Used when using chainsaw to protect the leg below the knee.
These are used in different circumstances to protect against different hazards
Usually used for pesticide use
Used for use of strimmer
Usually to protect against
Used to protect operator against noise
I have spoken about this before. It is law that suitable ear protection : ear plugs or ear defenders - are given above a noise level of 90 dB - to bring the noise heard by the operator down below 85 dB when in use. This is called noise attenuation. I have been in discussion with various chainsaw manufacturers and they have made it clear that they provide ear defenders to protect against their make of chainsaw. They will not guarantee that their ear defenders can be used for other makes of chainsaw. Thus a 'good chainsaw' manufacturer may have brought the levels of noise from their chainsaw down to 105 dB - their ear defenders only have to have an attenuation of 20 dB. The 'bad chainsaw may have a noise level of 115 dB - these ear defenders will NOT provide adequate protection. A noise assessment may be required.
Consider each item of PPE individually as follows:
|Do you have a copy of the manufacturer's instructions?||.|
|Has it a CEMark?||.|
|Used to protect against (Hazard & Risk)?||.|
|Likely length of exposure?||.|
|Who is exposed?||.|
|How is it cleaned?||.|
|How is it maintained?||.|
|What instructions does the operator require for its use?||.|
|How often should it be replaced?||.|
Signed ............................... Date
When you have answered these questions and signed it you have gone a long way towards complying with the legislation. However, this is not written in stone, if anything changes, re-assessment will have to be carried out.