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12th October, 2018

50 Reasons Why You Should Wear And Use PPE

Why wouldn't you 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.

1. It's there for you

The first word of PPE is personal. PPE is the most personal control there is because it is only there to look after you.

2. It protects 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.

3. You are important

Why do we even need PPE anyway? Because you are important! You only get one life, so protect it.

4. It's your last line of defence

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.

5. It's cheap

Many types of PPE are as cheap as chips. Gloves for under £1, ear plugs for less than 20p a pair, hard hats for under £5.

6. It's easy

It's easy to pop a hard hat on your head or stick on a pair of safety boots. In fact, it's no harder than putting on a normal hat or pair of shoes but gives you much better protection.

7. It's replaceable

Gloves got ripped? Get a new pair. Your hard hat was hit? Get a new one. Not so easy to replace your skin or your skull.

8. It's supposed to be comfortable

Your PPE should help you be comfortable. Knee pads make it softer to kneel, gloves soften sharp edges. If your PPE isn't comfortable, look for a different size or type.

9. It's there if all else fails

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?

10. You control it

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 have been serviced. Maybe that's someone else's job to do. But you can control if you wear and use your PPE.

11. You can check it

Other controls might be checked and inspection 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.

12. You know it's there

You see it. You feel it. You know it's there.

13. It's better than before

With improvements in technology and materials, PPE is always getting better and more advanced.

14. It's hard wearing

Those safety boots are going to last much longer than your trainers on site, and protect your feet better too.

15. It's built for purpose

PPE was designed to protect you from the hazards you are exposed to. Wear the right PPE for the job for maximum protection.

16. It's tried and tested

PPE has to go through rigorous testing to meet the standards required.

17. It protects your safety

Certain types of PPE are there to protect your safety, like harnesses to stop you falling, hard hats to prevent impact, and buoyancy aids to keep you afloat.

18. It protects your health

Other types of PPE protect your health. Like dust masks keeping dust out your lungs, and gloves stopping you developing dermatitis.

19. You only have one head

If something hits your hard hat, you can replace it. If something hits your head, you can't just get a new one.

20. You need to see

Could you do your job if you lost your sight? Eye protection will protect your eyes from projectiles and harmful splashes.

21. You need to be seen

Hi-viz will help show others on site where you are. This is especially important with moving equipment like site plant and forklift trucks.

22. You need your hands

We use our hands for the majority of tasks we do throughout the day. Gloves will help protect yours from sharp edges, hot surfaces and harmful substances.

23. It helps you breathe

We need our lungs to function to remain active and healthy. Dust masks and more specialist respiratory protection will help you keep yours in top condition.

24. It helps you sleep at night

Don't wear your PPE to bed! But if you didn't wear your ear defenders, then ringing ears could keep you awake.

25. Your family needs you

Don't take risks with your health and safety. Wearing PPE is an extra way to stay safe at work.

26. Your jobs not worth dying for

PPE isn't the only safety measure needed at work, but it's still a part of the collective health and safety system that will keep you safe.

27. It's your responsibility

Your employer has a duty to 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.

28. It's your duty

It's also your duty. Both employees and the self-employed have a duty to wear and use the PPE provided correctly (more on this in reason 50).

29. It's not optional

Wearing and using PPE is not a choice. If there is any risk to health and safety not adequately controlled by other means, PPE needs to be provided. Yes, you need to decide on the best and most suitable PPE for the task, but whether or not PPE is worn and used is not optional.

30. It gets you on site

No boots, no hat, no job. We have seen the signs. It is very unlikely you would be able to get on site in this day and age without suitable PPE.

31. It sets a good example

Everyone should wear and use PPE. From directors and managers to visitors and new starters.

32. It shows you care

Using and wearing the right PPE shows you care about health and safety, and about yourself.

33. It gives a good impression

It looks professional because it is professional. It shows you have standards, and run a safe site.

34. You will be ready for visits

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.

35. It helps your reputation

If everyone is wearing and using the right PPE, then that first impression helps build your reputation as a business that does things right.

36. It saves your skin

Red, itchy, painful, blistering skin? Could that be dermatitis or even sunburn? PPE can help cover your skin and stop this happening to you.

37. It prevents pain

No one likes pain. PPE can stop it.

38. There's so much choice

There's no longer a one size fits all approach to PPE. There are so many products on the market, from ranges designed 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.

39. It's quality controlled

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.

40. It's your personal insurance policy

PPE shouldn't be the only control, risks should be stopped before they reach you where possible. But like insurance, PPE is there should the worst happen.

41. You will be prepared for the worst

If the worst should the worst happen, with your PPE you will have a better chance of escaping unharmed.

42. There's a hidden killer

Have you heard of the hidden killer, asbestos? It's only dangerous if it's disturbed, but during removal or disturbance, the right PPE is vital to protect you and your future health.

43. There are hazards you can't see

Speaking of the hidden killer, there are other hazards you can't see. Fumes, gases and dust that your PPE can protect you from.

44. There are hazards you can't smell

You would know if there was a dangerous chemical or fume in the air, right? Not always, but PPE doesn't care if it can't smell it, it will protect you anyway.

45. We all make mistakes

Maybe not you. But what about other people on 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.

46. It can stop an accident

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 getting into a position where you might fall.

47. It can help you do your job

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.

48. It gives you peace of mind

You hope you don't need your PPE, but it gives you peace of mind that you are better protected.

49. It could save your life

Don't believe me? A hard hat stops a brick breaking your skull, a harness stops you falling from a roof, a lifejacket keeps you afloat until help arrives. I'm sure you can think of many more examples.

50. It's the law

Ok, we left this one until last, but let's not forget the legal requirements here. It's the law to provide PPE where there is a risk to health and safety and to use and wear your PPE correctly.

10. Use of personal protective equipment

(2) Every employee shall use any personal protective equipment provided to him... in accordance both with any training in the use of the personal protective equipment concerned which has been received by him and the instructions respecting that use...

(3) Every self-employed person shall make full and proper use of any personal protective equipment provided to him...

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

Download the free PPE use toolbox talk as a reminder for how to use and wear PPE correctly.

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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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