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Health and Safety Policy

Personal Protective Equipment


UHSP/19/PPE/03
This document sets out in more detail the arrangements for compliance with University Health and
Safety Policy at Budget Centre level and it gives guidance on how these requirements may be met.
This document forms a part of the University Health and Safety Policy. It has been approved by the
Environment, Health and Safety Executive Committee, in consultation with the Joint Safety Advisory
Committee, and it will be subject to review.
Personal protective equipment may be needed in addition to all other control measures if the
combination of all control measures fails to achieve adequate control of risks to health and safety.
Personal protective equipment includes gloves, respirators, eye protectors, helmets, harnesses and
other items of personal clothing. In addition to the work being done, materials used and also fit
requirements for the individual user, the selection of personal protective equipment also must take into
account the variation of performance according to type and individual specification. In specific cases
there are statutory requirements for personal fit testing and regular maintenance and performance
testing.
This document sets out Policy and requirements for the selection, use and maintenance and further
supportive information and guidance for items of personal protective equipment in common use.
Further information and advice is available from the Health and Safety Unit.

November 2003
UHSP/19/PPE/03

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION

PAGE
1

POLICY

REQUIREMENTS FOR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

FURTHER INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE


PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
PROTECTIVE GLOVES
EYE PROTECTORS
Types
Marking
Application for Fields of Use
RESPIRATORY PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Classification and Selection
Face Masks, Blouses, Hoods, Helmets
Filter Respirators
Filters
Fit Testing of Facepieces
Breathing Apparatus
HEAD PROTECTION
SAFETY FOOTWARE
HEARING PROTECTION
SAFETY HARNESS

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FURTHER REFERENCES

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Personal Protective Equipment


UHSP/19/PPE/03

INTRODUCTION
There is a general statutory requirement1 that personal protective equipment (PPE) is to be supplied
and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in
other ways. Usually, PPE is required to be considered in addition to all other control measures if the
combination of all control measures fails to achieve adequate control of risks to health and safety.
However, in certain cases2 there are specific statutory requirements, such as that for the provision and
wearing of head protection during construction work. There are also some other specific requirements
about PPE contained in Regulations covering hazardous substances, noise and ionising radiation.
Personal protective equipment includes:
gloves;

respiratory protection - respirators/face masks;

eye protectors;

safety harnesses;

personal ear protection - ear defenders;

helmets;

footware;

certain items of clothing.

Personal protective equipment must be suitable. In addition to the work circumstances and also fit
requirements for the individual worker, the selection of personal protective equipment also must take
into account the variation of performance according to type and individual specification. For example,
a glove material must be impermeable, a filter respirator must not only be able to filter out the
particular substance but also have sufficient capacity for the level and duration of exposure.
In specific cases there are statutory requirements for personal fit testing and regular maintenance and
performance testing.
This document sets out Policy and requirements for the selection, use and maintenance and further
supportive information and guidance for items of personal protective equipment in common use.

POLICY
Heads of Budget Centres must make arrangements to ensure that, in
accordance with the requirements of this Policy:
Provision of PPE
the requirement for PPE is assessed and suitable PPE provided;
Information, Instruction and Training
users of PPE are aware of the requirements of this Policy and are given adequate information,
instruction and training;

where there is a mandatory requirement to wear PPE, the appropriate Safety Signs are
displayed;

Maintenance, Inspection, Testing and Record Keeping


all PPE is kept clean and in good repair;

1
2

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992


The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989

respirators in regular use (other than one-shift disposable) are thoroughly examined and,
where appropriate, tested at least once a month or more frequently according to
circumstances;

respirators used only occasionally are examined and tested prior to next use and maintenance
carried out as appropriate;

a record is kept of the detailed outcome of each thorough examination and test of a respirator;

PPE contaminated with substances hazardous to health is effectively decontaminated before


normal cleaning;

Suitability
all PPE conforms to an approved type standard, as appropriate, and is suitable for the
purpose;

in addition to the above, items of PPE are 'CE' marked;

the selection of a tight fit respirator for an individual wearer includes an appropriate fit test;

Storage
suitable storage is provided for clean PPE not in use;

additional suitable receptacles are provided for keeping contaminated PPE prior to
cleaning/disposal.

Individuals must:

use only the PPE specified in the hazard and risk assessment or in budget centre Policy;

wear laboratory coats/gowns, kept fastened at all times, in areas where chemical and
microbiological hazards are handled;

remove laboratory coats/gowns, etc. before entering rest rooms, canteens, libraries,
lavatories, hospital wards and offices and, as far as is practicable, corridors and areas to
which there is general access;

carry out the pre-use checks required by this Policy;

ensure PPE is kept clean and replaced if contaminated or damaged;

use the storage provided in accordance with the requirements of this Policy.

REQUIREMENTS FOR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE


EQUIPMENT
Provision of PPE
1. Where PPE is the only effective means of controlling the risks of injury or ill health, then it must be
available for use at work and free of charge to the employee (or within limits agreed).

Maintenance, Inspection, Testing and Record Keeping


2. Before each period of work, users must carry out an external visual inspection of the PPE to
confirm suitability for the work activity and that it is not damaged or degraded so as to impair fit or
performance.
3. PPE should be kept clean and in good repair - the manufacturers maintenance schedule
(including recommended replacement periods and shelf lives) should normally be followed.
4. Coats/gowns must be changed regularly (e.g. daily at microbiological Containment Level 3 and
weekly at Level 2) and must be autoclaved before laundering.
5. Protective clothing that has been contaminated by hazardous substances must be
decontaminated/cleaned before next use (gloves will need to be washed both inside and outside).

6. Respirators in regular use (other than one-shift disposable) must be thoroughly examined and,
where appropriate, tested at least once a month or more frequently according to circumstances.
7. Respirators used only occasionally should be examined and tested prior to next use and
maintenance carried out as appropriate.
8. A record must be kept of the detailed outcome of each thorough examination and test of a
respirator.
9. No one should re-use PPE previously used by another person unless it has been thoroughly
washed and cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

Suitability
10. PPE must conform to an approved type standard.
11. In addition to the above, PPE must be 'CE' marked.
12. An item of PPE must be compatible with:
the wearer;

the work to be done;

any other item of PPE worn at the same time.

13. PPE must be of the correct size to ensure the wearer achieves an adequate fit and protection.
14. Fabric, filters, etc. must be able to resist penetration and permeation by the substance concerned
indefinitely or for a specified or recommended period.
15. Selection of a suitable respirator should use as a guide the equipment's assigned protection
factor.
16. The selection of a tight fit respirator for an individual wearer must include an appropriate fit test
and this must be repeated if there is any change in the respirator or facial characteristics of the
wearer.

Storage
17. Suitable storage must be provided for clean PPE not in use, adequate to protect it from
contamination, loss or damage, out of direct sunlight and not in excessively hot or humid
conditions.
18. Additional suitable receptacles must be provided for keeping contaminated PPE prior to
cleaning/disposal.

FURTHER INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE


It should be remembered that PPE should be used as a control measure only as a last resort and
where other methods of control are not reasonably practicable. This is because:
PPE only protects the wearer it does not remove the contaminant or hazard from the
workplace environment;

some types of PPE are inconvenient and interfere with the way people work, e.g., wearing
gloves interferes with the wearers sense of touch;

the extent of protection depends upon good fit and attention to detail;

if PPE is used incorrectly, or badly maintained, the wearer may receive no protection.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Types of Protective Clothing
Protective clothing may be needed to protect the body and limbs against certain hazards:
coats, coveralls, overalls and aprons to protect against hazardous substances;

outfits to protect against cold, heat and bad weather;

clothing to protect against knives and machinery, such as chain saws.

Protective clothing may also be needed for personal safety:


high visibility clothing;

life jackets and buoyancy aids.

The appropriate level of protection will depend on the work being undertaken and the environment it is
being under taken in.
Protective clothing should only be used for the purpose intended. It should be maintained in good
condition and checked regularly. It should be repaired in accordance with the manufacturers
instructions or discarded.

Laboratory Coats for Microbiological Containment Laboratories


Ordinary laboratory coats are adequate for biological containment level 1 laboratories, but Howie
coats, high necked, side or back fastening gowns with elastic cuffs (or equivalent), give better
protection and must be worn in containment Level 2 and 3 areas. Coats/gowns must be changed
regularly (e.g. daily at Level 3 and weekly at Level 2) and must be autoclaved before laundering. For
this reason it is often easier to use disposable gowns in Containment level 3 facilities. Containment
level 3 gowns must not be worn in any other laboratory and should not be removed from the facility
unless they have been autoclaved or are being taken to a nearby facility for autoclaving.

Relevant Standards:
Protection against cold weather EN 342
Protection against foul weather EN 343
Protection against heat and fire BS EN 366
Protection against intense heat BS EN 367
Protection against heat and flame BS EN 702
Protection against molten metal splash BS EN 373
Protection against risk of being caught up in moving parts BS EN 510
Flameproof BS EN 469, 531
For users of hand-held chain saws BS EN 381
Protective aprons for use with hand knives BS EN 412
For welders BS EN 470, BS 1542
For workers exposed to heat BS EN 531
Gaiters for foundries BS 4676
Protection protection against liquid chemicals BS EN 369, 466, 467
Protection against biological hazards EN 14126
High visibility warning clothing EN 471
Life Jackets and personal buoyancy aids BS EN 393, 394, 395, 396, 399

PROTECTIVE GLOVES
Protective gloves are available in a wide range of natural and synthetic materials; however, there is no
single glove material (or combination of glove materials) able to provide unlimited resistance to any
individual substance or combination of hazardous substances. There are three ways in which any
protective glove will, at some stage, fail to protect the wearer from exposure to any hazardous
substance:
permeation the process by which a substance migrates through the protective glove at a
molecular level;

penetration the bulk flow of a substance through closures, porous materials, seams and
pinholes or other imperfections in the protective glove;

degradation a damaging change in one or more physical properties of the protective


glove as a result of exposure to a substance or physical damage.

In some activities gloves may be worn to protect the work. However, extended periods of glove use
can produce adverse reactions in users. (See below)

Selection
The selection of suitable protective gloves is a complicated procedure and the degree of protection
they give is not always easy to establish. The manufacturer/distributor of the glove is best placed to
provide glove performance test data which can be used to assist in predicting the permeation,
penetration and degradation of specific glove materials by specific substances.
There are four requirements which must be met for any protective glove selected to be suitable. The
glove must:
be appropriate for the risk(s) (is the glove really necessary for the task?) and the conditions
where it is used;

take into account the ergonomic requirements and state of health of the person wearing it;

fit the wearer correctly, if necessary, after adjustments;

either prevent or control the risk involved without increasing the overall risk.

Proper selection should therefore take into consideration the wearer, the workplace conditions and the
protective glove. Wearers need to be trained in the correct way to put on, wear and then take off
protective gloves to ensure maximum protection.
If protective gloves are selected or worn incorrectly there is every possibility that this may increase the
wearers overall risk to health because:
contaminant may get inside the glove to reside permanently against the skin which could
cause greater exposure than if a glove had not been worn at all; or,

wearing a glove for extended periods can lead to the development of excessive moisture
(sweat) on the skin which in itself will act as a skin irritant; or,

wearing gloves manufactured in natural rubber (latex) can cause an allergenic reaction in
susceptible individuals, causing the skin disease contact urticaria to occur.

In addition to the above, overall risk to health may be increased because indiscriminate use of gloves
may engender a less careful attitude in the wearer.
NB The least suitable material for protection against chemicals is natural rubber.

EYE PROTECTORS
Eye protectors provide protection against impacts, optical radiations (0.1 to 1000m), hazardous
substances, short circuit electric arc or any combination of these risks. The standards for eye
protection are contained in BS EN166:1996 Personal Eye Protection - Specifications. In certain
cases eye protectors are also required to provide protection to the face, e.g. UV radiation, foundry
work, welding.

Types of eye protector

spectacles with or without side-shields;

goggles;

face-shields, including welding hand-held shield and welding helmet.

Marking of Eye protectors


The standard specifies how eye protectors are to be marked to indicate intended performance.
Both the oculars (lenses) and frames are marked.

The ocular marking relates to its filter performance for optical radiation and its durability. The
specifications for filter types are in EN 169 and EN 379 (welding), EN 170 (ultra violet), EN 171 (infra
red) and EN 172 (sunglare).

The frame is marked to indicate the field of use. In all cases, the marking contains the number of
the standard, EN166. Where the frame and ocular form a single unit, the code for field of use follows
the standard number. Eye protectors can be marked to indicate more than one field of use.
Application of Eye Protector Types for Fields of Use
Field of use

Symbol

Basic use - unspecified mechanical


No
hazards
symbol
Optical radiation - hazards arising from
Scale
ultraviolet, visible, infra red and solar
number*
radiation
High Speed
Low energy
-F
particle
Medium energy
-B
impact
High energy
-A
Liquid droplets
3
Liquid splashes
3
4
Large dust particles - >5m
Gases, vapours, sprays, smoke and
5
dust with a particle size <5m
Short circuit electric arc
8
Molten metals and hot solids splashes
9
= prohibited

Type of Eye protector


Spectacles Goggles Face shield
9

9







9
9

9

9
9

9
9
9

9





9 = allowable


9

9
9

* Scale number (transmittance characteristics) - combination of code number and shade.


(Welding filters have only a shade number)
Code number:
2 or 3 ultra violet, affected or good colour recognition
4
infra red
5 or 6 sunglare without or with infra red
There are specific requirements for work with lasers, BS EN 207:1999 (laser eye-protectors) and BS
EN 208:1999 (laser adjustment eye-protectors)
Further information is available in all the standards mentioned above.

RESPIRATORY PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT


Classification and Selection For Use
Classification3,4 divides RPE into two main classes according to whether its use is dependent or
independent of the ambient (contaminated) atmosphere:

Filter respirators - which filter contaminants out of inhaled air. This type is not suitable for
use in environments which are immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH), including oxygen
deficient atmospheres.
Breathing apparatus (BA) - which supply air or oxygen from a source independent of the
contaminated air. BA may be suitable for IDLH environments including oxygen deficient
atmospheres.

BS EN133:1991 Respiratory Protective Devices - Classification


BS EN 132:1999 Respiratory protective devices. Definitions of terms and pictograms
BS EN 134:1998 Respiratory protective devices. Nomenclature of components
BS EN 135:1999 Respiratory protective devices. List of equivalent terms
4
nd
The Selection ,Use and Maintenance of Respiratory Protective Equipment - A practical guide HS(G)53, 2 Ed.
1998, Health and Safety Executive

Performance
All RPE has some potential for inward leakage of contaminated air. An assigned protection factor5
(APF) obtained under controlled test indicates the maximum level of protection for a particular form of
RPE. The APF is dependent on the degree of enclosure of the mouth/nose/face/head, the form of
respirator, and the filter specification or, in the case of BA, the source of air. The range of APF's is 4
to 2000.

Selection for Use


The first step is to decide which main type of RPE is required. Next it is necessary to determine the
minimum protection required (MPR) from the RPE:

Ambient conc. outside facepiece of RPE


MPR =
Max. allowable conc. inside facepiece of RPE

The maximum allowable concentration inside


the facepiece of RPE will usually be the
occupational exposure limit (OEL) for a
substance.

The selection of RPE should include a comparison of the MPR and the APF's of the available
equipment. A lower level of performance should be expected during actual use, especially because of
difficulty in obtaining an adequate face seal. Selection will also need to take into account personal
and work-related factors (see HSG53). For example, RPE which requires a face seal should not be
considered for use in the presence of facial hair and/or spectacles.

Face Masks, Blouses, Hoods, Helmets


The principal design requirement of all of the many forms of RPE is that the mouth and nose may
draw air only from a filtered or clean supply. This and personal and work-related factors has resulted
in a variety of forms of RPE with different degrees of enclosure of the mouth/nose/face/head. Some
types employ a face mask6: a half-mask enclosing mouth and nose or a full-mask enclosing the whole
face. A full-mask actually comprises an inner mask covering the mouth and nose and an outer mask,
incorporating a visor, which forms a seal round the periphery of the face. Other types may incorporate
a helmet enclosing the face and head, a hood enclosing the face, head and part of the shoulders or a
blouse (which covers the head and body down to the waist and the arms to the waist, all of which
incorporate a visor. There are also gas-tight suits incorporating RPE.

Filter Respirators
In this class of RPE air passes first through a filter, which traps out contaminants, before the air is
inhaled. Exhaled air is expelled through an exhalation valve, through the filter medium or round the
edges of the respirator. Filter respirators may be subdivided into those which rely on the users lungs
to move the air and those in which a small pump moves the air. The first type produce alternate
negative and positive pressure within the respirator. This cycling of pressure may interfere with the
face seal or reduce the performance of an exhalation valve, if fitted, allowing inward leakage of
unfiltered contaminated air. In the second (powered) type a pump, worn by the user, supplies filtered
air under positive pressure. Some filter RPE is disposable, others use replaceable filters.
BS EN149:2001 Respiratory protective devices. Filtering half-masks to protect against particles The
simplest type of filter respirator in which a mouth/nose mask is moulded out of the filter material, with
or without an exhalation valve. APF 4-20 according to filter type (see below). Protects against both
solid and liquid aerosols.
BS EN 405:1993 Respiratory protective devices. Valved filtering half masks to protect against gases
or gases and particles APF 4-10 according to filter type.

BS 4275:1997 Guide to implementing an effective respiratory protective device programme


BS EN140:1999 Respiratory protective devices. Half masks and quarter masks. Requirements,. testing, marking
BS EN 136:1998 Respiratory protective devices. Full face masks. Requirements, testing, marking
6

BS EN 1827:1999 Respiratory protective devices. Half masks without inhalation valves and with
separable filters to protect against gases or gases and particles or particles only. Requirements,
testing, marking APF 4-20 according to filter type.
BS EN140:1999 half mask and replaceable filter, to BS EN141:2000, BS EN143:2000, BS
EN371:1992 or BS EN372:1992 (see below), APF 4-20 according to filter type.
BS EN 136:1998 full-mask and replaceable filter, to BS EN141:2000, BS EN143:2000, BS
EN371:1992 or BS EN372:1992 (see below), APF 4-40 according to filter type.
BS EN 12942:1999 Respiratory protective devices. Power assisted filtering devices incorporating full
face masks, half masks or quarter masks. Requirements, testing, marking APF 10-40 according to
mask and filter type.
BS EN 12941:1999 Respiratory protective devices. Power assisted filtering devices incorporating a
helmet or hood APF 10-40 according to form and filter type.

Filters
BS EN149:2001 Respiratory protective devices. Filtering half-masks to protect against particles. The
mask, moulded out of the filter material, protects against both solid and liquid aerosols. These masks
are classified according to their filtering efficiency and their maximum total inward leakage. There are
three classes in descending order of performance:

FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.


For all other devices with replaceable filters, the classification of a respirator filter begins with the class
of material the filter is designed to remove from contaminated air.
Particulates, solid and liquid (including (dusts, mists, fume, etc.) or
Gases and vapours.
These categories are further subdivided by performance in relation to particle size, capacity or
chemical nature of substance.
BS EN143:2000 Respiratory protective devices. Particle filters. Requirements, testing, marking There
are three classes, P1, P2 and P3 (3 being the highest) according to performance against solid and/or
liquid particle size, except that P1 applies only to solids.
BS EN141:2000 Respiratory protective devices. Gas filters and combined filters. Requirements,
testing, marking The specification includes 1,2 and 3 performance ratings for each of the filter types
for test gas concentrations of 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0%, respectively, but the breakthrough time and
concentration vary from substance to substance.
Type
A
B
E
K
Special Hg
Special NO

Application

(NB Confirm manufacturer's recommendations)

Certain organic gases and vapours with a boiling point above 65oC, as
specified by the manufacturer
Certain inorganic gases and vapours, as specified by the manufacturer
(excluding carbon monoxide)
Sulphur dioxide and other acidic gases and vapours, as specified by the
manufacturer
Ammonia and organic ammonia derivatives, as specified by the manufacturer
Mercury vapour
Nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide

There are also combination filters in which two or more filter types may be incorporated into a single
housing. A "Special" filter must always incorporate a P3 particle filter.
BS EN371:1992 Specification for AX gas filters and combined filters against low boiling organic
compounds used in respiratory protective equipment. This standard covers certain substances not
included in BS EN141.

BS EN372:1992 Specification for SX gas filters and combined filters against specific named
compounds used in respiratory protective equipment. Specification for performance against named
substance includes breakthrough concentration of not more than 5ppm and breakthrough time of 20
minutes at challenge concentration of 0.5% .

Fit Testing of Facepieces


Non-powered filter respirators based on a tight fitting facepiece, including disposable filtering
facepieces, rely on a good seal between the mask and face to provide protection. Facepiece fit
testing is a method of ensuring that a tight fitting facepiece is suitable for the wearer and seals
adequately to their face. It may be difficult to ensure a good seal if the person has a small face and a
variety of masks may therefore need to be fit tested before an appropriate one is selected. Tight fitting
facepieces are not suitable for people with facial hair and alternative types of respiratory protection will
therefore be required, for example, powered respirators incorporating hoods or helmets.

Breathing Apparatus
The simplest type of breathing apparatus incorporates a breathing mask with a tube attached which is
run from an uncontaminated area. This type of breathing apparatus produces pressure cycling, as for
filter RPE, and performance suffers accordingly. In other types of breathing apparatus compressed air
is supplied to the breathing mask, either from a cylinder carried by the user, or via an airline connected
to a suitable compressor. Some breathing apparatus uses oxygen supplied from a cylinder carried by
the user. Where a positive pressure is maintained in the supply to the user a much higher level of
performance is to be expected.

Fresh Air Hose


Air is drawn by breathing power or is pumped through a hose connected to a face mask, hood, helmet
or blouse with the open end of the hose located in an uncontaminated atmosphere.
BS EN 138:1994 Respiratory protective devices. Specification for fresh air hose breathing apparatus
for use with full face mask, half mask or mouthpiece assembly APF 10 for half-mask, 40 for full-mask
BS EN 269:1995 Respiratory protective devices. Specification for powered fresh air hose breathing
apparatus incorporating a hood APF 40
BS EN 12083:1998 Respiratory protective devices. Filters with breathing hoses, (non-mask mounted
filters). Particle filters, gas filters, and combined filters. Requirements, testing, marking

Compressed Air Line


Breathing quality compressed air is supplied through a flexible hose of length not greater than 90m. In
the demand valve type, air is admitted to a face mask in response to the reduced pressure created by
inhalation. In other types a continuous flow of compressed air is supplied to a face mask, hood,
blouse or helmet.
BS EN 139:1995 Respiratory protective devices. Compressed air line breathing apparatus for use
with a full face mask, half mask or a mouthpiece assembly. Requirements, testing, marking APF 20
for half mask; 100 (constant flow), 40 (negative demand flow), 2000 (positive demand flow) for full
mask.
BS EN 270:1995 Respiratory protective devices. Compressed air line breathing apparatus
incorporating a hood. Requirements, testing, marking APF 40.
BS EN 1835:2000 Respiratory protective devices. Light duty construction compressed air line
breathing apparatus incorporating a helmet or a hood. Requirements, testing, marking APF 10-40.
BS EN 12419:1999 Respiratory protective devices. Light duty construction compressed airline
breathing apparatus incorporating a full face mask, half mask or quarter mask. Requirements, testing,
marking APF 20 or 100

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus


Air or oxygen is supplied to a face mask from a compressed gas cylinder carried by the user. Air is
available on demand, as above, or as a continuous flow. Oxygen is available only on demand. This
equipment can be heavy and bulky and its use demands thorough training and good health and
physical fitness. Its period of use is limited by the available amount of air or oxygen in the cylinder.
BS EN137:1993 Specification for Respiratory Protective Devices: Self-contained open circuit
compressed air breathing apparatus. Open circuit means exhaled air discharged to atmosphere. APF
40 negative demand, 2000 positive demand.
BS EN 145:1998 Respiratory protective devices. Self-contained closed-circuit breathing apparatus
compressed oxygen or compressed oxygen-nitrogen type. Requirements, testing, marking. Closed
circuit means carbon dioxide in exhaled air is removed by an absorbent and the cleaned air is topped
up with oxygen and recirculated. Oxygen type not widely used because of hazard of pure oxygen.

HEAD PROTECTION
Types of Head Protection
Industrial safety helmets which are intended to protect against falling objects or impact with
fixed objects.

Crash helmets, cycling helmets, riding helmets and climbing helmets which are
intended to protect the user in the event of a fall.

Hairnets which are intended to prevent hair being entangled in moving machinery.
Selection
To fit correctly head protection should:
be of an appropriate shell size for the wearer;

have an easily adjustable headband and, if necessary, nape and chin strap;

be comfortable;

be able to accommodate a thermal liner when used in cold weather.

Head protection should be compatible with the work being done. For example:
a helmet with little or no peak is useful for a surveyor taking measurements or to allow upward
vision to a scaffolding erector;

if working in windy conditions or where repeated bending or looking up is required a chinstrap


or other secure retention system will be required;

if used where food is prepared it will need to be easily cleaned and be compatible with other
hygiene requirements;

if other ppe such as ear defenders, eye protectors or rpe are required then the design should
allow them to be worn safely and in comfort.

Factors that affect helmet performance


Deterioration in shock absorption or penetration resistance of helmets can occur from:
exposure to certain substances;

exposure to heat and sunlight;

ageing due to heat, humidity, sunlight and rain.

Contact with certain chemical agents should be avoided, including paint, adhesives, and cleaning
agents. Where names or other markings need to be applied using adhesives, advice should be
sought from the helmet manufacturer.

10

Exposure to heat or sunlight can cause the shell to become brittle. Head protection should never be
stored therefore near a window, for example the rear window of a motor vehicle.

Criteria for Replacement


Head protection should normally be replaced at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. It will
also need replacing when the shell is damaged or when it is suspected that the shock absorption or
penetration resistance has deteriorated. For example when:
the shell has received a severe impact;

deep scratches occur;

the shell has any visible cracks.

Further information
Personal protective equipment: safety helmets:HSE Construction Information Sheet No. 50
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis50.pdf

Relevant Standards
BS EN 397:1995 Specification for industrial safety helmets
BS 6658:1985 Specification for protective helmets for vehicle users
BS EN 1078:1997 Helmets for pedal cyclists and for users of skateboards and roller skates
BS EN 1384:1997 Specification for helmets for equestrian activities
BS 7928:1998 Specification for head protectors for cricketers
BS EN 966:1996 Specification for helmets for airborne sports
BS EN 1385:1998 Helmets for canoeing and whitewater sports
BS EN 12492:2000 Mountaineering equipment. Helmets for mountaineers. Safety requirements and
test methods
IRB Law 4M-98F Rugby Head and Body Protectors

SAFETY FOOTWARE
Types of Safety Footware
Safety boots or shoes These normally have steel toe-caps and may also have other safety
features including slip resistant soles, steel midsoles and insulation against extremes of heat and cold.
Wellington boots These protect against water and wet conditions and can be useful in jobs
where the footwear needs to be disinfected for hygienic reasons. They are usually made from rubber
but, especially where chemical resistance is needed, are also available in synthetic rubbers,
polyurethane and PVC. Wellington boots can be obtained with corrosion resistant steel toe-caps, rotproof insoles, steel midsoles ankle bone padding and cotton linings. They range from ankle boots to
chest-high waders.
Foundry boots These have steel toe-caps, are heat resistant and designed to keep out molten
metal. They are without external features such as laces to avoid trapping molten metal blobs and
should have velcro fasteners or elasticated sides for quick release.

Chainsaw boots These offer protection against chain saw contact.


Construction boots These offer protection against a variety of hazards, particularly objects
falling on them and sharp objects (e.g. nails) on the ground.

Anti-static footwear prevents the build up of static electricity on the wearer. It reduces the
danger of igniting a flammable atmosphere and gives some protection against electric shock.

Conductive footwear also prevents the build up of static electricity. It is particularly suitable for
handling sensitive components or substances (e.g. explosive detonators). It gives no protection
against electric shock.

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Selection
The selection of foot protection depends primarily on the hazard. However comfort, style and
durability should also be considered. The choice should be made on the basis of suitability for
protection, compatibility with the work and the requirements of the user.
Generally, safety footwear should be flexible, wet resistant, non-slip and absorb perspiration.
Inflexible or unnecessarily bulky footwear will result in tired feet and legs. Boots not shoes are
required when ankles need protection. Consideration should be given to the ability of the footwear to
resist corrosion, abrasion and wear and tear.
Always follow the manufacturers instructions and markings for appropriate use and level of protection.

Relevant Standards
BS EN 344-1:1993 Safety, protective and occupational footwear for professional use. Requirements
and test methods (Note this Standard makes reference to other relevant standards)
BS EN 344-2:1997 Safety, protective and occupational footwear for professional use. Additional
requirements and test methods (Note covers water resistance, protection against hand-held
chainsaws, resistance to firefighting hazards, metatarsal protection and cut resistance.)
BS 4676:1983 Specification for gaiters and footwear for protection against burns and impact risks in
foundries

HEARING PROTECTION
Types of Hearing Protection
Earmuffs which completely cover the ears.
Earplugs which are inserted into the ear canal.
Semi-inserts (also called canal caps), which cover the entrance to the ear canal.
Selection
The choice of personal ear protection will need to take into account the results of a noise risk
assessment.
Hearing protection should:
reduce personal noise exposure to below 90db(A);

be suitable for the working environment whilst taking into account both comfort and hygiene;

be compatible with other protective equipment used.

Relevant Standards
BS EN 458:1994 Hearing protectors. Recommendations for selection, use, care and maintenance.
Guidance document
BS EN 352-1:2002 Hearing protectors. Safety requirements and testing. Ear-muffs
BS EN 352-2:2002 Hearing protectors. Safety requirements and testing. Ear-plugs
BS EN 352-3:2002 Hearing protectors. Safety requirements and testing. Ear-muffs attached to an
industrial safety helmet
BS EN 352-4:2001 Hearing protectors. Safety requirements and testing. Level-dependent ear-muffs
BS EN 352-5:2002 Hearing protectors. Safety requirements and testing. Active noise reduction earmuffs
BS EN 352-6:2002 Hearing protectors. Safety requirements and testing. Ear-muffs with electrical
audio input
BS EN 352-7:2002 Hearing protectors. Safety requirements and testing. Level-dependent ear-plugs

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SAFETY HARNESS
Types of Safety Harness
Protection in the working position i.e. the harness in conjunction with a line is used to
prevent a person approaching a hazard, usually a drop. This type of harness is not suitable to arrest a
fall.
Protection in the event of a fall This harness is used in connection with a fall arrest system.
For rescue e.g. when working in a combined space. Rescue equipment can be attached to the
harness.
Harnesses that combine all three roles are available.

Selection
It is essential that the correct harness is selected, according to the work being carried out and it fits
correctly and is correctly adjusted.
Ideally, each user of a safety harness should have a personal harness for which they are responsible.

Maintenance and inspection


Attached to a harness will normally be a lanyard made of rope or webbing. It is essential that both
harnesses and lanyards are maintained in good condition.

Each harness and lanyard should be uniquely identified.

A record of the use of each harness and lanyard should be kept.

Harnesses and lanyards should be cleaned and the fittings serviced in accordance with the
manufacturers instructions.

Harnesses and lanyards should never be load or shock tested.

Harnesses and lanyards should be stored hanging up in a cool dry environment away from direct
sunlight;

Before use the condition of the webbing, stitching and fittings should be inspected. The harness
and lanyard should not be used if:

there are any signs of abrasion, cuts, holes, burns or chemical contamination;

there are any signs of corrosion, cracks, distortion or burrs;

there are any signs of broken, pulled, worn or unravelled stitching;

Detailed inspections of harnesses and lanyards should be made at least every six months. This
should be reduced to every three months for frequent use or in adverse conditions. These
inspections should be recorded.

NB No attempt should be made to repair damaged harnesses and lanyards - they should either be
returned to the manufacturer or be destroyed.

Criteria for Replacement


Manufactures may give guidance on when harnesses should be replaced. As a general rule they
should be replaced not more than ten years after manufacture or five years after first use, whichever is
the sooner. This time period may be reduced depending on the use they are put to and the
environment in which they are used.

Further information
Inspecting fall arrest equipment made from webbing or rope HSE Books INDG367, reprinted 2/03
ISBN 071762552 4

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Relevant Standards
BS EN 365:1993 Personal protective equipment against falls from a height. General requirements for
instructions for use and for marking
BS EN 358:2000 Personal protective equipment for work positioning and prevention of falls from a
height. Belts for work positioning and restraint and work positioning lanyards
BS EN 361:2002 Personal protective equipment against falls from a height. Full body harnesses
BS EN 813:1997 Personal protective equipment for prevention of falls from a height. Sit harnesses
BS EN 12277:1998 Mountaineering equipment. Harnesses. Safety requirements and test methods

FURTHER REFERENCES
The following Health and Safety Executive publications are available for downloading free of charge
from the HSE website.
A short guide to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
<http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg174.pdf>
Selection of suitable respiratory protective equipment <http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg288.pdf>
Selecting protective gloves for work with chemicals <http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg330.pdf>
Personal protective equipment: safety helmets <http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis50.pdf> (Construction
Information Sheet No. 50)
Information on hearing protection included in NOISE AT WORK - Advice for employers
<http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg362.pdf>
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