8th February, 2022
If you have ever struggled to get your team to wear and use their PPE correctly, or you are not sure why you need to wear PPE yourself, here are 50 reasons why you should wear and use PPE. After reading these 50 reasons, why wouldn't you wear PPE?
Why wouldn't you wear PPE? Maybe you think it's uncomfortable, but it shouldn't be (see reason 8!). Perhaps you don't like how it looks. Or you don't like rules.
People can come up with excuses not to wear PPE when they are caught not wearing it. But what about the reasons why they should wear PPE?
If you have ever struggled to get your team to wear and use their PPE correctly, or you are not sure why you need to wear PPE yourself, here are 50 reasons why you should wear and use PPE.
The first word of PPE is personal.
PPE is the most personal control measure there is because it is only there to look after you. It's not there for anyone else, only you.
The second word of PPE is protection.
The whole reason for PPE is to protect you, so if you don't wear or use it, it can't do its job.
You are important!
And not just at work. You have a life, family, friends. You only get one life, and wearing PPE helps you protect it.
Your PPE is the last barrier you have against hazards. There may be other controls in place, but your PPE is the control that stands in the way of any final or remaining risk, no matter how small.
Many types of PPE are as cheap as chips. Gloves for under £1, earplugs for less than 20p a pair, hard hats for under £5. So cost shouldn't be a barrier or excuse not to wear it.
It's easy to pop a hard hat on your head or stick on a pair of safety boots.
PPE is no more difficult to wear than putting on a regular hat or pair of shoes. But it gives you much better protection.
Because PPE is cheap and readily available, it's easy to replace.
Did your gloves get ripped? Get a new pair. Was your hard hat hit? Get a new one. It's not so easy to replace your skin or your skull.
Your PPE should help you be comfortable. Knee pads make it softer to kneel, and gloves soften sharp edges. If your PPE isn't comfortable, look for a different size or type.
Yes, there are other controls in place. But what if they fail? What if that brick falls from the scaffolding even though there are toeboards in place?
The power to wear and use PPE is in your hands.
You might not be able to directly control if guards are in place, if people working above you are behaving safely, or if ventilation systems get serviced on time. Maybe that's someone else's job to do. But you can control if you wear and use your PPE.
Other controls might be checked and inspected by someone else. Your PPE is something you can visually check before and during every use, so you know what condition it's in if it needs repairing and when it needs replacing.
You're wearing it.
You see it. You feel it. You know it's there.
With improvements in technology and materials, PPE is always getting better, stronger, and more advanced.
PPE is created to withstand the demands of the work environment.
Those safety boots are going to last much longer than your trainers on a worksite. And they will protect your feet better too.
The purpose of PPE is to protect you from the hazards you are exposed to at work. Wear the right PPE for the job for maximum protection.
You can trust your PPE. It has to go through rigorous testing to meet the standards required.
Certain types of PPE are there to protect your safety.
Like harnesses to stop you from falling, hard hats to prevent impact, and buoyancy aids to keep you afloat.
Other types of PPE protect your health.
Like dust masks keep dust out your lungs, and gloves stop you from developing dermatitis.
If something breaks your hard hat, you can replace it. But if something hits your head, you can't just get a new one.
Could you do your job if you lost your sight? Eye protection will protect your eyes from projectiles and harmful splashes.
If you work on a busy site with moving vehicles and equipment, you don't want to get hit.
Hi-viz will help show others on site where you are.
We use our hands for the majority of tasks we do throughout the day. For picking things up and putting them down. For pushing buttons and pulling levers. For writing, typing, clicking and scrolling.
Gloves will help protect your hands from sharp edges, hot surfaces and harmful substances.
We need our lungs to function to remain active and healthy. Dust and other harmful substances put your breathing at risk.
Dust masks and more specialist respiratory protection will help you keep your lungs in top condition.
You don't need to wear your PPE to bed! But if you didn't wear your ear defenders, then ringing ears could keep you awake.
If you get hurt at work, it's not good for you or your family.
Don't take risks with your health and safety. Wearing PPE is an extra way to stay safe at work and get back home to your family.
No job is worth dying for, so why take the extra risk by not wearing PPE?
PPE isn't the only safety measure needed at work. The hierarchy of risk control puts it as the last line of defence. But it's still a part of the health and safety system that will keep you safe.
Your employer must provide you with PPE and make sure you wear it. But they can't watch you at all times. It's your responsibility to use the PPE provided and wear it correctly.
It's also your duty. Both employees and the self-employed have to wear and use the PPE provided correctly (more on this in reason 50).
Wearing and using PPE is not a choice.
If there is any risk to health and safety not adequately controlled by other means, PPE is needed. Yes, you will decide on the most suitable PPE for the task, but whether or not PPE is worn and used is not optional.
Have you seen the signs? No boots, no hat, no job.
It is unlikely you would be able to get on a worksite in this day and age without suitable PPE.
Maybe you don't think you need to wear PPE. Perhaps you are just there for 5 minutes or not directly involved with a task.
Everyone should wear and use PPE. From directors and managers to visitors and new starters. It only takes one person not following the rules to undermine the health and safety culture.
Using and wearing the right PPE shows you care about health and safety and that you care about yourself.
You want to give a good impression to anyone entering your workplace.
And wearing PPE looks professional because it is professional. It shows you have standards and run a safe site. And as an individual wearing PPE, it shows you care about your work and yourself.
Spot checks by the HSE? A drop in from a client?
No problem, because everything is in order. You are wearing your PPE and practising good health and safety.
If everyone is wearing and using the right PPE, that first impression helps build your reputation as a business that does things right.
As an individual wearing PPE, it builds your reputation in the workplace as someone who does the right thing and takes care at work. Someone who can be trusted and who doesn't need reminding.
Red, itchy, painful, blistering skin? Could that be dermatitis or even sunburn? PPE can help cover your skin and stop this from happening to you.
No one likes pain. PPE can stop it.
There's no longer a one size fits all approach to PPE. There are so many products on the market. From ranges specifically for women to sizes and fits for all shapes.
Now you can make sure your PPE is compatible with you and with each item you wear.
PPE manufacturers have to be assessed and conform to certain standards. CE marking, British Standards and quality control all make sure that PPE meets the requirements for use.
PPE shouldn't be the only control measure in place. Risks should be stopped before they reach you where possible, through elimination, substitution or other collective control measures.
But like insurance, PPE is there should the worst happen.
If the worst should happen, and a control measure fails, or a substance leaks, you could come into contact with a harmful hazard. By wearing your PPE, you have a better chance of escaping unharmed.
Have you heard of the hidden killer, asbestos? It's only dangerous if it's disturbed, so during removal or disturbance, the right PPE is vital to protect you and your future health.
Speaking of the the hidden killer, there are other hazards you can't see, like fumes, gases and dust.
When you wear your PPE, you are protected, even if you can't see what from.
You would know if there was a dangerous chemical or fume in the air, right? Not always, some deadly gases are odourless, like carbon monoxide.
PPE doesn't care if it can't smell a hazard because it will protect you anyway.
Maybe not you. Of course, you don't make mistakes!
But what about other people on the site? Could they drop something, or forget to close a barrier, or press the wrong button?
Your PPE will try to protect you from other peoples mistakes (and your own!).
We have mentioned how PPE can protect you from the results of an accident, but there are also types of PPE that can stop an accident. Think about how safety lanyards and harnesses can stop you from getting into a position where you might fall.
Your safety gloves can give you a better grip. A torch on your hard hat can help you to see. Your ear defenders can make a noisy work environment tolerable.
Your PPE can help you do your job.
You hope you don't need your PPE, but it gives you peace of mind that you are better protected.
PPE saved lives.
A hard hat can stop a brick from breaking your skull. A harness can prevent you from falling off a roof. A lifejacket can keep you afloat until help arrives. I'm sure you can think of many more examples.
Ok, we left this one until last, but let's not forget the legal requirements here. It's the law for employers to provide PPE where there is a risk to health and safety and for employees to use and wear PPE correctly.
- Every employee shall use any personal protective equipment provided [...] in accordance both with any training in the use of the personal protective equipment concerned which has been received [...]
- Every self-employed person shall make full and proper use of any personal protective equipment provided [...]
Download the free PPE use toolbox talk as a reminder to use and wear PPE correctly.
This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.
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