The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment PPE Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essentially a range of items you can wear that will protect you against various hazardous conditions. PPE is important because it prepares you for health and safety risks and gives you extra protection in the event of an accident or against the elements. It’s also important to know that safety equipment provided on the job should meet Personal Protective Equipment Regulation, and that it is most effective when it meets the correct size, fit and height of its user.

Since personal protective equipment differs by industry, specific types of protective equipment are suitable for specific types of work. Our latest article looks at the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and how implementing these can ensure a safer workplace.


Respiratory equipment is a specific form of PPE used to protect the individual against the inhalation of hazardous substances in the workplace. These substances can include dust, mist, gas and fumes and when hazardous substances are inhaled in the workplace (or anywhere), they can damage the lungs and airways. In some instances, the harming materials can spread and impact other organs.

Where respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is used, it must be able to provide adequate protection for individual wearers. RPE can’t protect the wearer if it leaks. A major cause of leaks is poor fit – tight-fitting face pieces need to fit the wearer’s face to be effective. As people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes it is unlikely that one particular type or size of RPE face piece will fit everyone. Fit testing will ensure that the equipment selected is suitable for the wearer.


Hearing protectors are required to prevent noise induced hearing loss and as approximately 82% of occupational hearing loss cases are those working in the manufacturing sector, ear protection is a must. Hearing protection devices reduce the noise energy reaching and causing damage to the inner ear and ear muffs and earplugs are the most common types of PPE. PPE for hearing protection is compulsory to be worn by employees who are exposed to noise levels equal to or greater than 85 dbA

Hands and skin

Potential hazards to hands and arms include skin absorption of chemical or biological hazards, chemical or thermal burns, electric shock, bruises, abrasions, cuts, punctures, fractures or amputations.  Protective equipment includes gloves, finger guards and arm coverings. Working with harmful substances, dry or liquid, that can be absorbed through the skin, or that can cause skin irritation, chemical burns, or similar conditions. Examples would include strong acids/bases, toxic or corrosive materials, organic solvents, and radioactive materials.

Eyes and face

There are four primary types of eye protection – of which each has its own limitations – including general safety glasses, laser safety glasses, chemical splash goggles and impact goggles. Full face protection is achieved by wearing face shields. Make sure the PPE you choose has the right combination of eye protection against various hazards of impact, dust, splash or molten metal. It should also be appropriate for the task and fit the user properly.


Hard hats are commonly utilised on construction sites as they are designed to protect against flying or falling objects that would otherwise significantly harm the worker. Some hard hats come with face shields and earmuffs for further protection and one of the most important things to remember is that hard hats must fit well in order to work appropriately. Make sure that your team all has well-fitting hard hats, or their head protection will not be adequate.

For further information on the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and any other Health and Safety issues, please contact us here.

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