Skip to main content

 PPE - Health & Safety Gone Mad?

Created 1 Feb 2013, 10:08 by Shirley in the CDM forum.

PPE is regarded as the last resort when eliminating or reducing risk so therefore other measures should be implemented before a blanket enforcement of wearing PPE is put in place, also risk assessment and safe systems of work would dictate whether the wearing of eye protection is always necessary.

It seems to be the norm now from the discussions I have read that PPE is always used and enforced as a permanent solution to hazards and risk which tells me employers are not really looking at ways of reducing or eliminating risk in the workplace or they do not understand the true value of eliminating risk. Other factors could also include the threat of civil compensation claims by employees or prosecution by the health and safety executive. Again such things would only occur if an employer has breached a statutory duty and failed in his duty of care.

Blanket enforcement of wearing PPE can in my opinion only increase the already health and safety gone mad amongst workers and may increase their resistance to safety in the long term.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

#79 Trevor Olsson posted on 5 February 2013, 08:56

This is becoming common practice amongst some of the major contractors. As you state PPE should be defined by a work specific RA and Method Statement. A blanket instruction to all workers to wear safety Helmets, gloves, and eye protection regardless of the works being carried out, could be more hazardous than not wearing the PPE.

If the contractor cannot show that they have correctly assessed the work prior to an accident occurring, the fact that they have a blanket instruction stipulating that the PPE must be worn is unlikely to protect them in court.

Better training of a site's management is what is required to ensure works are properly planned including Risk Assessments prior to that item of work commencing. The planning and risk assessment should involve the operative/s who know and understand the works and will carry out the actual construction.

#83 David Brede posted on 6 February 2013, 14:33

I think that PPE serves 2 purposes. One to be a last line of defence for a worker on site and the other is to indicate that they are at work and meant to be where they are.

There is an issue of PPE being over the top for the immediate needs of the site but if it differentiates the workforce from a person who is not meant to be there then it has a point. It also signals that the worker is part of the team and identifies with the business doing the work which is a good thing.

#86 Steve Hickford posted on 7 February 2013, 09:42

I'd tend to agree with the comments already posted - PPE is and always will be the last line of defence. It is provided by the employer to mitigate hazards that can't be controlled any other way, but as we know, it must be maintained, used and fitted correctly and only protects the individual. Where I believe the use of PPE has gone beyond what is reasonable is the insistence by some contractors that all visitors to site must wear the same PPE as the workforce regardless of the work activity on site: boots, hard hat and hi viz I can see, but gloves and safety specs? How long before everyone is handed a dust mask before they leave the site office?

#87 David Brede posted on 7 February 2013, 09:52

Certainly some firms are hard by insisting on a full PPE whatever you are doing on their sites. I guess the litmus test is does it have results to justify it?

#88 Shirley posted on 7 February 2013, 10:02

This goes back to my original point though doesn't it? I agree with all the points made and like Steve says it "sometimes is beyond reasonable". Surely this just adds extra unnecessary cost? This at a time when we are constantly being told to 'cut costs'. I severely doubt that this sort of activity saves any lives or stops accidents.

#90 Trevor Olsson posted on 7 February 2013, 10:07

There definitely seems to be a culture developing in some firms that all operatives and all site visitors must wear full PPE, including gloves and safety glasses. Whilst I can possibly understand this in the early stages of a project, when groundworks or major structural works are being carried out. What is the justification towards the end of the project when the finishing trades are on site? The project must be risk assessed throughout its life and the correct PPE worn to protect the workforce and visitors from foreseeable hazards.

#99 Steve Hickford posted on 7 February 2013, 13:52

I agree with Trevor's comment: on many occasions I've been on site at the finishings stage where the contractor's operatives are wearing PPE to protect them from the works when in actual fact the works need to be protected from the operatives!

#111 Stuart Nagle posted on 5 March 2013, 19:47

I agree with all the comments above, but experience also tells me you can never underestimate the degree of stupidity of either workers on site or in some cases visitors... on this basis I don't have a problem with wearing either hand or eye protection when going 'on-site' and in fact have a selection of 'rather cool' safety glasses from clear, to varying degrees of sun shade colours... and I'm looking forward to getting off my 'heavy' warm gloves and wearing the much lighter 'summer issue'.... bit I would love to find a really comfortable pair of safety boots that by 3pm each day are not digging holes in the side of my big toe.... boy am I glad to have a soft pair of shoes to slip into in the car :)

Respond to this post

Please log in to enter your response.


Return to list of posts | Return to forum list

Please note that the views or comments expressed on this forum are not necessarily those of Ai Solutions. We reserve the right to remove any defamatory, derogatory or libellous statement or words from the site.