Lesson 3 General rules of using PPE

  • In the previous section you have learned about general requirements regarding the design of PPE. There are also some general rules concerning utilitarian aspects.
  • Firstly, there may be situations in which you have to use more than one PPE at the same time. It may happen when there is more than one risk present in working environment. In that case, the equipment must be compatible, not interfere with each other, and has to assure protection against specific risks.
  • Secondly, due to the fact that each case needs to be considered individually, taking into account seriousness of the risk, the frequency of exposure to the risk, the characteristics of the workstation of each worker and the performance of the personal protective equipment, the conditions of use of PPE should be tailored to those individual circumstances.
  • Thirdly, personal protective equipment, as its name says, is intended to be used by individuals for their personal use. Therefore, situations when the same PPE is interchangeably used by several workers should be avoided. However, if such situation happens, the measures should be undertaken to assure proper hygienic conditions and also that the PPE does not create any health problems due to e.g., not adequate sizing of equipment (too small or too large gloves, helmets, etc.).
  • Another important issue is providing proper information to workers on how to use equipment. Workers must know how to use it in order to do it safely and allow PPE to serve its purpose. Employers should inform workers about risks which PPE protects from, they should organize training and demonstrate how to wear or use PPE. It is necessary to emphasize, that personal protective equipment must be used in accordance with instructions.
  • The general rule is that PPE should be provided free of charge by the employer. Additionally, employer should ensure that PPE is in good hygienic condition and works properly. Necessary maintenance, repair and replacements are also in employers’ area of responsibility. However, it must be pointed out, that there are certain circumstances which allow such situations in which workers may be asked to participate in the cost of PPE, e.g. in in circumstances where use of the equipment is not exclusive to the workplace.
  • Finally, it is important to stress that any equipment must meet specific quality requirements and be approved for usage by appropriate authorities.