OBUHSN-21 Issue 03 January 2009

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Introduction

  1. This Health and Safety Notice must be read and understood by all employees, students and visitors of Oxford Brookes University who may be exposed to risks to their health and safety while engaged in work, studies or projects. Where appropriate, it must also be brought to the attention of contractor's staff working at the University.
  2. In certain circumstances it may be necessary for some employees, students and visitors to be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure they are free from risks to their health and safety.  Any PPE deemed necessary to meet these obligations must be provided free of charge to staff, visitors and in certain cases, as specified below to students.

Legal responsibilities

  1. The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (PPE) (Regulation 4) state that:
  2. Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by means which are equally or more effective. Where it is necessary to ensure that personal protective equipment is hygienic and otherwise free of risk to health, personal protective equipment provided under this regulation is provided to a person for use only of the individual.

Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate responsibilities

  1. Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates, through their line management or Safety Advisors are responsible for identifying risk of injury to staff, students or visitors arising from work in their areas and for ensuring that the most suitable precautions are taken to minimise these risks.  Risk assessments of the tasks as detailed in OBUHSN 36 will identify other methods of controlling the risks. The use of PPE must always be considered as the last method of controlling risks.
  • It must be ensured, through proper use of such equipment, that any risks are reduced to a minimum. Some staff, students and visitors may have genuine reservations regarding the use of PPE.  Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates must ensure appropriate information and training are provided to enable a full understanding of these issues.
  • There are many different styles of PPE and care must be taken to ensure the PPE is not only effective and suitable in relation to specific local hazards, but should also be compatible with any special needs of the individual who is to use it.  Manufacturers’ data should be used to determine the type of PPE required. Where two or more items of PPE are required to be used simultaneously they must be compatible and as effective used together as they are separately.
  • Issued PPE should be ‘CE’ marked. The CE mark signifies that the piece of PPE satisfy the safety requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations.
  • Adequate arrangements must be made for the correct storage, inspection, maintenance and cleaning of the PPE.  All PPE has a natural life after which it will need to be replaced at no cost to the users.
  • Adequate records, (detailed in paragraph 5) of PPE must be kept.
  • Regular assessments of work processes and substances used must be carried out to determine whether or not the PPE being worn is still effective.  These assessments may include both risk assessments and individual health surveillance.
  • PPE kept for issue to students and visitors will be the responsibility of the manager of the work or study area and the same guidance will apply.

Care of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  1. In order to ensure that all PPE is in a fully functional state the following advice on care and maintenance must be adopted:
  • PPE will be stored in a safe and appropriate environment so as not to damage or reduce the working life of the equipment.
  • The line manager and user will carry out inspections of the PPE at the time of issue and at regular intervals thereafter as determined by the frequency of its use, the associated risk assessment and the manufacturer’s guidance. 
  • PPE will be regularly cleaned and maintained as appropriate to its use and the manufacturer’s guidance.
  • The manufacturer’s guidance will determine the ultimate life of the PPE. 
  • There must be no unauthorised modification or construction of PPE.  Details of appropriate types of PPE are available from the Safety Office or Faculties/Directorates.
  • Where appropriate, staff/students and visitors will need to receive training in the use and care of the PPE.  PPE is likely to be damaged by contact with paint, solvents, adhesives, other chemicals or by direct impact. Therefore, when not in use PPE should be kept in a clean storage area away from risk of damage. Training and guidance in the care of PPE is available from the Health and Safety Department or suppliers of the PPE.

Record keeping

  1. Records of PPE issue, etc. will be kept for the life of the equipment and for a minimum of 5 years thereafter.  Appendix 1 is an example of a record keeping sheet. Such records must be kept on the following:
  • All PPE must be date marked when purchased and a record made of its date of issue and to whom it has been issued. 
  • The routine inspections made of the PPE by the line manager and user. 
  • The cleaning and maintenance of the PPE.

Specified protection zones

  1. Work or activities being undertaken in some areas of the University may create a significant hazard to the designated parts of the body of anyone within that area. In these circumstances the Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate or their nominee will designate the area as a Protection Zone named according to the part of the body which is particularly at risk. The type of protection areas will include, Head Protection Zones, Eye Protection Zones, Hearing Protection Zones.
  • Examples of Head Protection Zones includes areas where building work is taking place.
  • Examples of Eye Protection Zones include laboratories where acids or other dangerous substances are frequently handled, machine shops, grinding shops, battery rooms.
  • Ear Protection Zones are those which are likely to have noise levels which exceed the limits imposed by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations. OBUHSN-20 gives details of how to determine noise levels.
  1. Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates, through their line management or Safety Advisors will be responsible for identifying areas of risk for which designation as a Protection Area is required. They will also be responsible for ensuring that that the most suitable precautions are taken to minimise these risks.
  2. The entrances to workplaces designated as Protection Zones must be clearly marked with the appropriate safety sings which comply with the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations.
  3. In Protection Zones, all personnel must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment provided. A stock of appropriate personal protective equipment must be kept by the member of staff in charge of the area for issue to students or visitors.

Specific guidance on head protection

  1. Staff, students and visitors must wear suitable head protection in order to safeguard against foreseeable risks of injury to the head from falling objects or from striking against fixed or stationary objects. Staff, students or visitors engaged on field studies in such locations as quarries etc., must wear head protection where the circumstances demand. Where a risk assessment identifies a need to wear head protection it is University policy that its use is mandatory even if this requirement is not essential within the statutory regulations.  The use of head protection is governed by The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations and Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations.

Specific guidance on eye protection

  1. Human eyes are irreplaceable and easily damaged by flying particles, corrosive substances and many other chemicals. It is, therefore, imperative that eye protection is worn whenever there is a risk of damage to the eyes. Staff, students or visitors must wear suitable eye protection in order to safeguard against foreseeable risks of injury to the eyes from flying particles, corrosive substances and many other chemicals.  Where a risk assessment identifies a need to wear eye protection it is University policy that its use should be made mandatory even if this requirement is not essential within the statutory regulations.  The use of Eye Protection is governed by the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations.
  2. All staff and students at the University who have monocular vision or other eye defects must wear safety spectacles at all times when working in laboratories or other work areas where there is an inherent risk of damage to the eyes.
  3. Wearers of contact lenses should seek advice from the Senior Occupational Health Advisor or the Safety Officer on the advisability of wearing such lenses in eye protection areas, especially those involved in the use and handling of chemicals.
  4. Spectacle wearers are in some measure protected by their own spectacles. If by the nature of their work they are required to wear eye protection, suitable eye protection may be worn over the individual's own spectacles.  If such eye protection proves inadequate, prescription lens safety spectacles with lateral shields will be provided.  Where such safety spectacles are provided by the University, they must not be altered or damaged in any way and remain the property of the University.  Guidance on eye care for Display Screen Equipment (DSE) users is outlined in OBUSHN-32.

Specific guidance on hearing protection

  1. Staff, students and visitors must wear suitable hearing protection in order to safeguard against foreseeable risks of injury to the hearing from exposure to noisy environments. Where a noise risk assessment (see OBUSN-20) identifies a need to wear hearing protection it is University policy that its use should be made mandatory even if this requirement is not essential within the statutory regulations. The use of hearing protection is governed by The Noise at Work Regulations and Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations.

Specific guidance on protective clothing

  1. Staff, students and visitors must be provided with and wear the appropriate protective clothing as identified by a task risk assessment.  This must be provided to staff and visitors and in some instances students at no cost to those individuals.  The use of protective clothing is governed by The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations.

Specific guidance on protective footwear

  1. Falling objects, corrosive substances or slips, trips and falls may damage the feet.  It is, therefore, imperative that foot protection is worn whenever there is a risk of damage to the feet.  Staff, students or visitors must wear suitable foot protection in order to safeguard against foreseeable risks of injury to the feet.  Staff, students or visitors engaged on field studies in such locations as quarries etc., must wear suitable foot protection where the circumstances demand.  Where a risk assessment identifies a need to wear foot protection it is University policy that its use should be made mandatory even if this requirement is not essential within the statutory regulations.  The use of foot protection is governed by the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations.
  2. There are many types of foot protection available for different uses such as in chemical, construction, thermal or wet environments.  It is important to ensure that the protection provided is suitable for the task being undertaken.  Manufacturers’ data should be used to determine the type of foot protection required.