Why is PPE Important?

Last updated: November 13, 2023

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential in the workplace. As an employer, you must ensure that the right PPE is available to protect the user against workplace health and safety risks. In this blog, we’re going to look at why PPE is important, the different types of PPE and the legislation surrounding it. 

Why is PPE important in the workplace?

The role of PPE is to reduce employee exposure to health and safety risks on the job. Hazards can cover everything from falling debris, wet floors and unstable ladders, chemical hazards, and everything in between. Common PPE items include hi-vis clothing, safety footwear, hardnesses and respiratory equipment.

Depending on the workplace, government legislation states that PPE must be provided to protect against hazards.

PPE Training and Usage

PPE must be provided for employees free of charge, and employees must be trained in how to use it. This includes knowing how to detect any faults and report them immediately. When choosing the right PPE for your workplace, it is vital that you consider who is exposed to hazards, how long they will be exposed for, what they are exposed to and how much of it they’re exposed to.

Always choose products which are CE-marked per the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002. The products must fit the user; for example, headwear and welding suits must be chosen with the size of the user in mind; if in doubt, ask the user to select their own equipment.

If more than one piece of PPE has to be worn at a time, consider whether the pieces will impact the other. For instance, would even the best safety glasses impact the seal of a respirator? Test and test again to ensure you are not putting the user at risk.

No exemptions should be made when it comes to PPE, even if a job will only take a few minutes. It’s not worth the risk! In order to remind users about PPE, consider placing signs around the workplace stating what should be worn and where. Regular checks should be undertaken to ensure that PPE is up to date and in accordance with PPE legislation.

Different Types of PPE

Eye PPE

What does it protect from?

Chemical splashes, metal splashes, dust, projectiles, gas, vapour and radiation.

What should be worn?

Safety goggles, safety glasses, face screens, face shields or visors.

Head and Neck PPE

What does it protect from?

Falling objects, head bumps, hair getting tangled, chemical drips, splashes, climate and temperatures.

What should be worn?

Safety helmets, hairnets, bump caps and firefighters helmets.

Ear PPE

What does it protect from?

Excessive sound levels and noise exposure.

What should be worn?

Earplugs, ear muffs or semi-insert/canal caps.

Hand and Arm PPE

What does it protect from?

Abrasions, extreme temperatures, cuts, punctures, chemicals, electric shocks, vibration, radiation, biological agents and immersion in water.

What should be worn?

Safety gloves, cuff gloves, gauntlets, and sleeves that cover relevant parts of the arm.

Feet and Leg PPE

What does it protect from?

Extreme temperatures, electrostatic, slips, cuts, falling objects, heavy loads, chemical splashes, metal splashes and vehicles.

What should be worn?

Safety boots, safety shoes, midsole Wellington boots and footwear designed for specific purposes, e.g. chainsaw boots.

Respiratory PPE

What does it protect from?

Oxygen-deficient atmospheres, dust, gases and vapours.

What should be worn?

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE). This can include filtering facepiece respirators and power-assisted respirators.

Body PPE

What does it protect from?

Heat, chemical splashes, metal splashes, spray from pressure leaks, contaminated dust, impact, and the entanglement of own clothing.

What should be worn?

Overalls, boiler suits, welding suits, aprons and chemical suits.

At Toolden, we provide a wide range of PPE equipment, including the best safety glassessafety footwear and more. Shop the full range today or speak to a member of the Toolden team for advice on what you need for your workplace.