Category Archives: PPE


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Importance of Updated Safety in the Workplace

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Importance of Updated Safety in the Workplace

Safety in the workplace is essential. Part of safety protocol entails inspecting and replacing any damaged equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) applies to any industry. It’s helpful to know what PPE your team should wear as well as the stationary equipment available to keep everyone safe.

Why Is it Important to Inspect for Damage and Replace Equipment?

There are several factors to consider when inspecting damaged equipment and replacing it. Dangerous and risky job sites require that personal protective equipment, like helmets, must always be worn to avoid fatal accidents such as falling objects. All PPE must be working correctly and replaced regularly.

Inspect and Replace PPE in a Timely Manner.

Identify the correct time to replace PPE. Replacing equipment too early is a waste of resources to pay for new equipment. However, waiting too long to replace PPE is risky because, if equipment fails, accidents and injuries happen.

Develop Standards and Protocols for Inspecting PPE.

Establish inspection timelines, standards and protocols. For example, everyone could be responsible for their personal protective equipment, or one or two people could be assigned responsibility for inspecting the equipment. If and when there is an issue with the equipment, it should immediately be taken out of circulation and replaced. Therefore, you should always have extra PPE on hand.

When creating inspection protocols, you need to be aware of what to look for when inspecting PPE. Some examples of what to inspect include:

  • Discoloration or material disintegration.
  • Rips, tears, holes, or visible damage.
  • Age of gear and manufacturer’s expiration date.
  • Missing components such as filters, and other resources.
  • Failing straps, locks, and security devices.

Use a PPE Grading System.

Create a PPE grading system. A grading system should be common to everyone and helps your employees instantly know when equipment should be replaced. PPE may need to be replaced while it’s getting fixed or may need to be thrown out altogether. It all depends on the type of job.

Use Occupational Safety and Health Administration Guidelines.

Refer to The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Government guidelines. Be sure that your team knows exactly what the guidelines are and be sure they are met at all times. These guidelines can be included in your inspection and replacement requirements.

COVID and PPE

When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear may not be beneficial. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

The UK Government has published COVID-19 Secure working safely guidance for workplaces that provides a hierarchy of risk control measures that employers and the self-employed are expected to follow when reviewing their risk assessments for COVID-19 hazards.

When an Incident Occurs, Take Action Immediately.

Take action after an incident. Any affected PPE should always be replaced. Depending on the incident, it may be possible to save the gear after being inspected. Otherwise, it should be replaced.

Don’t Forget About Stationary Equipment

Be aware of stationary equipment like machinery and the need to stand behind a protective shield. This equipment also requires you to inspect, repair, and/or replace the stationary equipment as well.

Be Consistent.

Though replacing and inspecting equipment may seem like a hassle, it is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure your workers are aware of necessary PPE and inspect their gear at the beginning of a shift or before starting a major project. You do not want to risk an accident.

What PPE Wear Is Available?

PPE wear includes head protection, eye protection, hearing protection, good respiratory protection, correct gloves, footwear, and correct work clothing.

Here are examples of the different types of PPE wear available.

Head Protection

Invest in a good helmet. Today, there are many customised features to choose from such as adjustable interior harnesses and sweatbands. Ensure PPE is compatible, for example, wearing a safety hat in conjunction with ear defenders.

Eye Protection

Work-related eye injuries unfortunately happen to hundreds of people daily worldwide. Safety glasses can prevent these injuries. Welding goggles and shields can protect you from bright light or infrared radiation.

Hearing Protection

In a high sound level environment, earplugs would be comfortable. However, ear defenders may be a better choice to have on the shop floor or construction site because you can take them on and off easily and they’re more hygienic.

Respiratory Protection

Masks are necessary when coming in contact with hazardous materials like vapour, smoke, or powder. Dust masks protect you against fine dust and other dangerous particles. Full-face masks protect you against toxic materials. These masks will protect your nose and mouth from pollution.

Hand Protection

There are different types of gloves depending on your occupation.

  • Protection against vibrations.
  • Protection against cuts and sharp materials.
  • Protection from cold or heat.
  • Protection against bacteriological risks.
  • Protection against splashes from diluted chemicals.

Protective Footwear

Different types of protective footwear serve different purposes

  • Safety shoes and boots to protect you against heavy weights.
  • Anti-skid soles when working in damp environments.
  • Shoe claws for slippery surfaces like snow and ice.

Correct Work Clothing

Specific types of work clothing can protect against accidents in a crowded workshop. High-visibility vests or jackets can keep you visible in dark or crowded conditions. Pants made with strong fabric will protect your skin and resist wear and tear.

Ensure the team are trained and competent to carry out their tasks.

Safety in every workplace is a must to provide a safe work environment, and keep you and your team safe.

Contact us for further information.

 

 

 

Personal Protective Equipment Toolbox Talk

Accidents can happen on any day. The day they are most likely to happen is the day health and safety have been forgotten. Health and safety can’t have days off!

By starting each day with a quick 5-10 minute toolbox talk, it serves as a reminder about the importance of health and safety at work. It gets peoples minds focused on the hazards and risks they are about to face. It reminds them of what they need to do to stay safe. It starts the day with a positive health and safety attitude.

Informal toolbox talks can often be missed or carried out too infrequently. The benefit of a daily toolbox is that it becomes part of a routine. Part of the working day.

Carried out daily, toolbox talks become part of a habit. A habit that will help the team develop a positive health and safety attitude. A habit that creates a safer work environment.

Growing a positive health and safety culture.

What business doesn’t want a positive health and safety culture? It keeps your workers safe, keeps your business out of trouble, and can save you money. That’s a triple win! So why do some businesses have poor health and safety records? Because growing a positive health and safety culture takes time and effort, and everyone’s involvement.

Your health and safety culture is the values, attitudes, competency and behaviours of everyone in the business. Regular toolbox talks can form part of the health and safety management system to grow your health and safety culture in a positive way.

Why have this talk?

In some instances, dangers arising from hazardous activities can only be controlled using personal protective equipment, known as PPE.

What will this talk cover?

The importance of PPE and how to use it correctly to ensure effective protection.

Personal Protective Equipment Toolbox Talk

Personal Protective Equipment Toolbox Talk

Legal requirements

The legislation requires any employer who identifies it as necessary to supply PPE and ensure that it is used at work wherever the risk to health and safety cannot be controlled in other ways.

What you should know about PPE

PPE is equipment or clothing designed to protect the user from known hazards in the workplace. The most commonly worn items of PPE are safety footwear, gloves, safety glasses or goggles and hi-vis clothing. You might also use helmets, ear protection (for noise), respirators and safety harnesses.

PPE is designed to only protect the user.

All PPE must be worn in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and be in good condition to be fully effective.

Anyone using PPE needs to be aware of why it is needed, when it is to be used, repaired, or replaced. They should also be aware of the limitations of the PPE they use, for example safety gloves can come with different cut levels. A different cut level may be required depending on the risk involved of the task.

What must the employer do?
  • Organise work activities to avoid the use of PPE wherever practical, for example using local exhaust ventilation rather than asking workers to wear respirators.
  • Assess requirements and make sure the PPE selected is suitable for the task.
  • Ensure any necessary PPE fits the wearer and is made to the correct standards.
  • Supply the employee with the PPE and replace defective or lost PPE at no cost.
  • Instruct and train employees in the use of PPE and explain the limitations where necessary.
  • Where more than one type of PPE is used, to make sure they are compatible and can comfortably be used together.
  • Ensure that all PPE is maintained and stored properly.
What must the employee do?
  • Always wear the PPE supplied for the task.
  • Use the PPE in accordance with instructions given.
  • Return any PPE to the storage area after use.
  • Take reasonable care of your PPE.
  • Report any defects or loss to your manager.
Questions for employees
  • Can you name the PPE that is applicable to your workplace and work activities?
  • What should you consider when using multiple items of PPE at any one time?
  • Who has responsibility for the issue, use and maintenance of PPE?

Contact us if you have any questions.

 

Published · Updated

Advice for welding inspections in early 2020

In the months leading up to March 2020, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is carrying out proactive inspections in businesses where welding takes place to check that risks are being appropriately managed, and has offered some advice on interim arrangements for businesses.

Eight hundred proactive HSE inspections are planned on metal fabrication businesses during the months leading up to March 2020.

Half of those inspections will take place in February 2020 and the HSE has estimated that the initiative will hit 1 in 15 fabrication premises.

Welding fume is one of the HSE’s priority health targets as are metal working fluid mists.

The HSE is emphasising that all welding fume can cause lung cancer, and potentially kidney cancer, so employers must put controls in place.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regime provides the legal basis to help ensure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled.

The HSE has published revised COSHH guidance, along with updated web pages on how to manage exposure to welding fume.

The HSE advises employers to carry out a full risk assessment before anyone starts welding work and notes that the Breathe Freely in Manufacturing Welding Fume Control Selector Tool can help identify the required controls.

Exposure to welding fume can be harmful so HSE inspectors will expect businesses to be able to demonstrate that they are properly protecting workers’ health.

However, the HSE says it recognises the changes might mean businesses need to plan for buying and implementing equipment if they don’t already have it in place.

The HSE recently said, “If you have already ordered new local exhaust ventilation (LEV) equipment but are waiting for it to be installed, then make sure you have an interim plan in place to minimise exposure, such as the provision of suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE)”.

Contact us if you require guidance.

Published · Updated

Can employers charge for PPE

hard hat and gloves PPEPersonal Protective Equipment (PPE) is provided by employers so employees can carry out their job. There are responsibilities that employees must take responsibility for when dealing with PPE. See previous blog Link. 

The PPE Regulations stipulate that companies are unable to charge for PPE (under section 9 of the Health & Safety at work Act 1974 – see ACOP link below).

28 Under section 9 of the HSAW Act, no charge can be made to the worker for the provision of PPE which is used only at work. Section 9 of the HSAW Act states:

‘No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions’. Section 9 applies to these Regulations because they impose a ‘specific requirement’, for example to provide PPE. It also relates to all charges including returnable deposits. An employer cannot ask for money to be paid to them by an employee for the provision of PPE whether returnable or otherwise.’

29 If employment has been terminated and the employee keeps the PPE without the employer’s permission, then provided it has been stipulated in the contract of employment, the employer may be able to deduct the cost of replacement from any wages owed.

From guidance, levy’s or deposits are not be appropriate, so therefore we would deter this course of action.

If PPE is constantly being asked for as it is defective, consider discussing defective wear with the supplier or the manufacturer. Request a credit or replacement FOC as they are not fit for purpose under Trading Standards.

If employees are asking for frequent replacement of PPE, consider looking to discreetly mark the item with UV marker pen with a serial number much the same as asset tags on company property to check that the item presented for replacement are those that were recently issued.

If there are repeat offenders this would need to go down the HR disciplinary route.

ACOP – L25 PPE ACoP 2005

Contact us should you wish to discuss this topic.

 

Published · Updated

Are Your Staff Feeling the Heat??

With the recent heat waves, thermal comfort in the workplace is now becoming something of a challenge for many employers. Whilst there is no maximum workplace temperature specified in the UK, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that workplaces shall be maintained at a ‘reasonable’ temperature. What is ‘reasonable’ will depend upon the nature of the work, but according to the HSE, an acceptable level of thermal comfort lies somewhere between 13°C and 30°C.

Workers likely to be most at risk include catering staff, outdoor workers e.g. horticultural workers, maintenance personnel, process workers and employees who must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as breathing apparatus or impermeable clothing. Employees working in offices which do not have air conditioning are also likely to be affected by hot weather.

It is important to continue wearing PPE during extreme temperatures. However, encourage staff to remove them during break times to cool off, sit in the shade or a cool area and drink plenty of fluids, this will help to reduce heat stress. Heat stress is where the body is under stress from over heating. Heat related illnesses include heat cramps or heat stroke, each with its own symptoms and treatments. Symptoms can range from profuse sweating, heat rash, fainting, loss of concentration.

10 Top Tips for Dealing with the Heat

  1. Consult with your employees to establish reasonable levels of thermal comfort for the majority, but accept that you won’t be able to please everybody.
  2. Carry out a risk assessment and identify employees who are most susceptible to heat stress, e.g. pregnant women. Consider altering work patterns to reduce the level of risk by job rotation, working at cooler times of the day. Limit exposure of outdoor workers by providing sunscreen and suitable clothing, e.g. long sleeves and hats.
  3. Modify the working environment by providing mobile air conditioning units, but not oscillating fans, as these simply circulate warm air. Use window blinds or shades to help reduce the effects of heat and solar gain.
  4. Provide more frequent breaks in a cooler environment – the hotter the working environment and more strenuous the work, the more frequent breaks should be.
  5. Ensure a constant supply of drinking water and stress to staff how important it is to maintain hydration at work. Caffeine-based drinks can actually speed up dehydration, as they are diuretic. Coffee also speeds up metabolism, thereby increasing body temperature.
  6. If you have a dress code, consider relaxing it, as it’s better to have productive, casually-dressed employees, than employees who must leave work because they feel unwell.
  7. Ask staff to turn off electrical equipment when leaving the office. Power used to keep items on stand-by is dissipated into the workplace as heat.
  8. Do big print runs and other heat generating jobs in the cooler part of the day.
  9. If office temperatures are unbearable for some, consider allowing them to work from home.
  10. Review PPE provision to see if there is any which is cooler and more comfortable and which can offer the same (or better) level of protection.

Your risk assessment must take into account factors such as temperature to protect your employees, as well as helping you stay on the right side of the law.

If you require advice please contact us.