Unfortunately health and safety can sometimes seem like a bad idea, with many people complaining that it’s caused almost as many problems as it’s solved. However, the statistics don’t lie, and the number of injuries at work has continued to fall, as have the number of serious injuries and deaths. In part this is due to the increased use of personal protective equipment, and the increased variety and specialism of personal protective equipment and clothing.
But for many businesses it can be difficult to make absolutely sure that the provision, distribution and maintenance of PPE is satisfactory, and with many people now only too willing and able to seek compensation in the event of an accident or injury it’s important for businesses to make the right decisions.
But making the right decisions regarding personal protective equipment doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult. As with anything, as long as there is a sound plan and a solid strategy in place it’s easy to keep things in place. After all, you wouldn’t run your accounts without a sound strategy and simple rules in place, and neither should you run your personal protective equipment provision without a sound strategy.
In part it is true that some businesses still see PPE as a bolt on, or an added extra which needs to be included to satisfy the health and safety inspectors, but this is to look at it the wrong way round. A business’s accounts department isn’t a bolt on extra or an afterthought – it’s an inherent part of the business. PPE needs to be like this.
In order to help outline the bare bones of a PPE strategy the following eight points should seek to encourage businesses to formulate more definite policies and strategies, which in turn should become a part of the business rather than something added on afterwards.
1. The Provision Of PPE
Legally it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that personal protective equipment is provided, and at no cost to any employee. It’s also important for businesses to be aware that the provision of PPE is only a last resort, after all other safety measures have been employed, and whilst a risk still exists. The PPE supplied must be appropriate to the workplace, suitable for the risks identified and able to be worn or used by the employee comfortably and ergonomically.
2. The Compatibility Of PPE
It’s easy to think that simply providing personal protective equipment is enough but in some cases combinations of equipment or clothing may impair the efficiency or effectiveness of each other. For example, some eye protection won’t fit when worn with breathing apparatus.
3. Assessment Of PPE
Risk assessments need to be carried out in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and regular assessments need to be carried out to ensure that all PPE provided is suitable, appropriate and the best alternative given the current existing range of equipment and clothing available.
4. Maintenance And Replacement Of PPE
PPE will become worn or damaged and will no longer provide the same level of protection as when new. There must be procedures in place to regularly assess the personal protective equipment provided as well as procedures to ensure that any equipment or clothing no longer up to standard is removed from use and replaced.
5. Accommodation Of PPE
Whether shared by everyone or supplied on an individual basis, all personal protective equipment must be stored so that it is safe, protected and accessible. This is particularly important for things such as safety knives.
6. Information And Training
All employees must undertake suitable and appropriate training in the use of PPE, and in identifying defective products. The employer must keep records of all training provided, and refresher courses must be included.
7. The Use Of PPE
Providing personal protective equipment, ensuring it is suitable, appropriate and not defective is all very well, but there must be strategies and procedures in place to ensure that it is actually being used and worn whenever appropriate.
8. Loss Of Or Defective PPE Policy
The business must have in place a clear policy and set of guidelines for what the procedures are for reporting defective personal protective equipment or reporting the loss of PPE.
Source by Justin Arnold