Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended)
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPER) came into force on 1st January 1993. Within Construction Personal Protective Equipment is often referred to as PPE, you will find this abbreviation in many CDM documents like risk assessments and method statements or safe systems of work.
They have subsequently been amended by the Police (Health and Safety) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/860), the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2174) and the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3232).
The Regulations are based on European Community (EC) Directive 89/656/EEC requiring similar basic laws throughout the Community on the use of PPE in the workplace.
A full copy of the Regulations can be printed and/or downloaded from legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/2966/contents/.
The use of personal protection in the form of clothing or equipment should be considered as a last resort in the minimisation of accidents in the construction industry. All too often there is insufficient effort to reduce or eliminate a hazard and to rely on personal protection to prevent the hazard giving rise to personal injury. For example, considerable attention is currently being paid to persuade operatives to wear hearing protection, whereas equal or if not more effort must be directed to the silencing of the machines being used in our industry. The drive to get persons to wear safety helmets must be hand in hand with tighter controls at site level to keep an absolute minimum the amount of material falling from heights. A glance around the base of most scaffolds will bear witness to the industry's failure in this most important area.
There is a considerable requirement within the construction industry for the use of personal protection, even as the last resort, in view of the fact that even on the safest of sites, hazards are not totally eliminated.
It is important that items of protective clothing be selected by competent persons having a full understanding of the nature of the protection required, the needs of the persons wearing the protection and the range and performance of the protection available. Wherever possible a range of suitable protection should be offered giving the wearer a degree of choice.
Storage and Maintenance
The construction industry will often provide a considerable amount of personal protection to each individual operative and is generally unwilling to provide suitable storage and maintenance facilities. Serious consideration should be given to the installation of wire mesh lockers in the drying rooms so that proper care can be taken of the equipment once it has been issued.
No person should be required to wear any item of personal protection unless he has been fully trained to do so. This training will include information on:-
- the nature of the hazard
- the source of the hazard
- the effects of exposure to the hazard
- the way in which the protection functions
- the way in which the protection must be worn
- any limitations of the protection
- the way in which the protection must be maintained and stored
- the person to whom any defects or other problems should be referred.
Cost of Personal Protective Equipment & Clothing
It is an offence to charge an employee for any item of personal protection that the employer is obliged to provide by any statutory requirement. This includes replacement after loss or damage.
Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing
Personal protective equipment must be suitable and sufficient for the purpose for which it is to be used. It must fit the wearer and be comfortable in use.
There are differing types of head protection available and care must be taken to make the right choice. BS 397:1995 (Helmets) and BS EN 812:1998 (Bump caps) should be consulted.
There are three main types available - Ear muffs, ear plugs and helmets. Each provides differing means of protection and an assessment must ascertain what is the best means of protection for the wearer and eliminating the risk. BS EN 352-1 to 8:2001/2002 contains the safety requirements and testing of hearing protection.
Eye protection is designed to protect the eyes from flying objects such as metal fragments, dust, fibres, welding sparks, splashes from chemicals etc. There are different grades of protection to comply with BS EN 166:2002. The testing methods are specified within BS EN 167:2002 and BS EN 168:2002. These cover the suitability of certain grades of protection against different risks such as chemicals, dust, gases, molten metals and impact.
Further guidance on more specialised protection such as those for welding etc. is contained in BS EN 169:2002 and BS EN 170:2002
There are two basic types of respiratory protective equipment. (a) Those which take contaminated air, and, by means of face mask and filters, clean it and return it to be inhaled by the user. And (b) those which feed the user with uncontaminated air from a self-contained unit or an independent source separate from the user. All users of such equipment must receive both practical and theoretical training to ensure the proper and effective use of the equipment. Such equipment must be properly maintained in full working order and defects must be reported immediately.
There are many BS EN standards that specify the requirements for mask and respirators, the main standard for selection purposes being BS EN 166:2002, Personal eye protection. Specifications.
Hand protection is usually in the form of mittens, gloves or gauntlets and are manufactured from various materials dependent on the protection required. Usually this is protection against cuts and abrasions but in some cases for protection against hazardous substances and corrosive or toxic materials. Any assessment undertaken must ensure the protection provided protects against the particular hazard. BS EN 374-1:2003, BS EN 374-2:2003, BS EN 374-3:2003, BS EN 421:2010 and BS EN 60903:2003, give further guidance.
There are many different types of safety boots and shoes available to protect against most hazards and risks. Care must be taken to ensure the type chosen is suitable for the purpose intended. The standards for protective footwear are BS EN 20344:2004, BS EN 20345:2004,. BS EN 20346:2004 and BS EN 20347:2004.
These can include overalls, coveralls and aprons. It can be clothing which protects against cold and wet and clothing which affords high visibility. The standards for protective clothing are BS 7184:2001, BS EN 340:2003, BS EN 342:2004, BS EN 343:2003+A1:2007, BS EN 464:1994, BS EN 471:2003+A1:2007, BS EN ISO 6942:2002 and BS EN ISO 11611:2007.
Falls protective equipment can be fall arrest harnesses or fall restraint harnesses/belts. The standards for fall arrest harnesses and fall restraint/work positioning equipment are BS EN 341:1993 (Descender devices), BS EN 353-1:2002 and BS EN 353-2:2002 (Guided type fall arresters), BS EN 354:2002 (Lanyards), BS EN 355: 2002 (Energy absorbers), BS EN 358:2000 (Belts for restraint & work positioning), BS EN 360:2002 (Retractable type fall arresters), BS EN 361:2002 (Full body harness), BS EN 362:2004 (Connectors), BS EN 363:2008, BS EN 364 (Test methods), BS EN 365:2005 (Instructions, maintenance, examination, repair, marking and packaging) and BS EN 795:1997 (Anchor devices testing).
Content of the Regulations
- Citation and commencement
- Disapplication of these Regulations
- Provision of personal protective equipment
- Compatibility of personal protective equipment
- Assessment of personal protective equipment
- Maintenance and replacement of personal protective equipment
- Accommodation for personal protective equipment
- Information, instruction and training
- Use of personal protective equipment
- Reporting loss or defect
- Exemption certificates
- Extension outside Great Britain
- Modifications, repeal and revocations directive
- Schedule 1: Relevant Community
- Schedule 2: Modifications
- Part 1. Factories Act 1961
- Part 2. The Coal and Other Mines (Fire and Rescue) Order 1956
- Part 3. The Shipbuilding and Ship-Repairing Regulations 1960
- Part 4. The Coal Mines (Respirable Dust) Regulations 1975
- Part 5. The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 1980
- Part 6. The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1985
- Part 7. The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987
- Part 8. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988
- Part 9. The Noise at Work Regulations 1989
- Part 10. The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989
- Schedule 3: Revocations
HSE AcoPs and Guidance
All HSE documents are available to purchase or to freely download from the links below.
- L25 Personal protective equipment at work (Second edition): Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) Guidance
- INDG174 (Rev 1) A short guide to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
- Other guidance on the selection and use of PPE is available from the HSE website