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Using PPE

Using PPE : Precautions to Ensure Their Effectiveness

The Single Risk Assessment Document (DUER) defines residual work risks and the implementation of collective protections. After this analysis, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for protecting workers against health and safety risks at work. It is crucial to take necessary precautions to ensure the correct choice, use, maintenance, and storage of PPE, so they complement preventive safety measures. This article will help you explore the necessary precautions to maximize the utility of PPE and ensure worker safety.

How to Properly Choose and Use Protective Equipment ?

The first precaution is to choose the right PPE for the task. It’s essential to select personal protective equipment that meets the appropriate safety standards for a specific job. PPE must be suited to the nature and severity of the risks identified and also be compatible with each other. Here are some steps to help make the right choice :

Identify Risks

Identify the health and safety risks associated with your job. This process should be repeated as often as your activity evolves, especially in cases of co-activity.

Find Appropriate PPE

Identify the PPE designed to protect against the specific risks you have identified.

There are 3 categories of personal protective equipment:

  • Class I for work equipment covering minor risks
  • Class II for specific protection equipment for significant risks
  • Class III for safety equipment for severe risks with irreversible or fatal effects. 

Consult European Standards

Ensure the protective equipment you plan to use complies with the appropriate safety standards. Unfortunately, many counterfeits are available on the market. You can check for the presence of the CE marking and mandatory information on the equipment’s identification tag.

Assess Compatibility

Ensure that different elements of the PPE are compatible with each other and can be used together. Protection in an ATEX zone requires complete antistatic protection (including safety footwear!).

Control Maintenance and Periodic Inspections

Each piece of equipment must be provided in good hygienic and usable condition. Design maintenance processes and control procedures to be implemented by the employer or employee.

Try Before You Buy

Ensure the PPE you plan to use in your activity area is comfortable, fits the wearer’s physique, and is appropriate for its usage environment. Preliminary testing helps identify any issues, as personal protection must be worn consistently.

How to Train Workers in the Use of PPE ?

Once the correct protective equipment is chosen, it’s vital to ensure that workers are properly trained to use it. Users must be trained on how to correctly use, maintain, and store their PPE. They should also be informed about their PPE’s protection limits and know how to detect wear for replacement. Here are the steps for being trained on the use of personal protective equipment :

Identify Necessary Equipment

Identify the PPE necessary for your job and check the number of equipment pieces provided for each workstation. Do not forget to plan for replacements before expiry or wear.

Explain Consult Instruction Manuals

Read the instruction manuals that come with the protective equipment and ensure you understand the instructions and usage notices. The equipment manufacturer provides useful information that should be incorporated into PPE usage training.


Undergo initial training on the use and maintenance of PPE provided by the employer or a certified trainer. For some protections, check if refresher training needs to be scheduled.


Practice using the equipment in simulated situations to become familiar with their use.


Ensure your ability to correctly use the PPE is regularly assessed. It’s important to note that training should be provided by a qualified trainer and tailored to each worker’s specific needs. Users should also be encouraged to ask questions and report any issues related to the use of PPE.

The Importance of Maintenance and Inspection of PPE to Ensure Their Effectiveness and Durability

Ensuring that protective equipment is properly maintained is essential. PPE should be regularly inspected to ensure they are in good working condition. Damaged or faulty PPE must be immediately replaced. They should also be stored correctly to avoid any contamination or deterioration. Properly maintaining personal protective equipment is necessary to ensure their effectiveness and durability :

Clean Regularly

Regularly clean the PPE according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use recommended cleaning products to avoid damage.

Proper Storage

Store personal protective equipment correctly to prevent damage. They should be kept in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Regular Inspection

Regularly inspect the PPE to check for damage or wear. Immediately replace damaged or worn PPE to ensure the safety of the wearer. Discuss the user’s role.

Personal Protective Equipment Is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Solution for Workplace Safety

Solution for Workplace Safety Finally, it’s important to understand that PPE should not be seen as a one-size-fits-all solution to workplace safety issues. Protective equipment is designed to complement preventive safety measures but cannot replace them. It’s crucial to identify risks and adopt preventive measures such as training, improving work practices, and implementing appropriate safety procedures, including maintenance, management, and monitoring of PPE and equipment subject to regulation.

The Importance of Protective Equipment in Worker Safety

In conclusion, PPE is an essential tool for ensuring worker safety in many sectors. It’s important to take precautions to ensure that personal protective equipment is used correctly and complements preventive safety measures. It’s crucial to select the right PPE, properly train workers in their use, maintain them correctly, and understand that PPE should not be considered a one-size-fits-all solution to workplace safety issues.

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