The Biggest Personal Protective Equipment Myths Exposed

Posted on March 24, 2014

PPE equipmentPersonal Protective Equipment (PPE) is just one aspect of the health and safety regulations that the government has been attempting to push over the last few years and unsurprisingly, it’s separated into two groups. Some people will kit themselves out in every piece of equipment imaginable, while others will cut corners and subsequently be under protected.

This means that countless myths have emerged over the years, with some just basic misconceptions while others are bordering on the ridiculous. In a bid to showcase the sector in its true light, here are the favourite five that we have found.

Myth #1: Once I've bought PPE, my obligations are over

Whether you are an employer or employee, the obligations are far from over once you fork out for your initial PPE gear. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve bought out the entire shop, this is just the tip of the iceberg and as well as obviously wearing it, you’ll also have to store and keep it appropriately.

The HSE suggest storing it in any area which is dry and clean, ensuring that it is completely reusable when it is pulled out again.

Myth #2: Boots should only be worn to guard against falling objects

The safety boot issue is a bit of a minefield as well. The general consensus is that the boots are to only guard against slips, and to protect the foot against any object which could fall onto the toe.

However, the underlay of the boot is perhaps the most important element but the one that most users forget about. In today’s day and age, with needles and other sharp objects being particularly common on-site, it’s crucial to prevent any objects penetrating the foot. Most of the brands have caught onto this though and if you opt for a manufacturer like Dunlop, available from the store, you’ll be immediately provided such protection.

Myth #3: Employees are responsible for protecting themselves

It doesn’t matter how small or big the site is, the onus is always on the employer to provide the appropriate protective equipment. In fact, the HSE states that whenever there is any sort of identified risk, there must be an accessible supply of PPE.

The requirements don’t stop there, either. Employers must clearly show where the equipment is kept; showing instructions on where to find it if it is deemed to be necessary.

Myth #4: Small jobs don't require PPE

This is perhaps one of the most dangerous misconceptions in the industry. Unsurprisingly, some people will opt not to wear the appropriate equipment for jobs which may only take a few minutes of work. This happens to be one of the main areas where injuries occur and even if it takes an age to slip on your workwear, the guidelines state that you must still do it regardless of the amount of time a task takes.

Myth #5: It's impossible to overprotect yourself

A rather strange myth relates to overprotection. With the HSE keen to push PPE as much as possible, some workers are under the impression that they should just stuff as much equipment over themselves as possible. However, it’s deemed that this prompts all sorts of other safety concerns, with most related to overheating or just trips because of the cumbersome items you’ll be wearing.

As such, it’s all about getting the balance right and while overprotection is better than the opposite, it’s still dangerous and something you should be looking to avoid.

Posted in News, Health and Safety