Reducing Risk and Understanding Personal Protective Equipment

As well as reducing the risk of workplace accidents even occurring in the first place, minimising their impact is an employers ethical and legal obligation. It’s through an understanding and provision of the correct Personal Protective Equipment (P.P.E.) that employers can be sure that their staff are protected against the ever-present risks of injury that come with working in industrial environments, including; Construction, Civil Engineering, Manufacturing, Logistics, Mining and Offshore, Farming and many more.

Employers are of course responsible for providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to workers, but even when the most stringent controls and safeguarding systems are in place, potential hazards still remain and probability has it that injures will on occasion occur. Threats to the lungs, head, ears, eyes, skin, body and feet lie around ever corner in some heavy industrial settings. Although PPE should be considered the very last resort in protecting workers, it must be correctly implemented and it must meet the relevant legislation deeming it fit-for-purpose i.e. suited to the hazardous working condition it is intended for.

As a rule-of-thumb, always source PPE products which are CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002. Be wary of equipment that isn’t. As well as invalidating your insurance, your workers might be placed at risk of injury. Their PPE may not be as effective as CE marked products. Although generic PPE, such as helmets, high-vis jackets and safety footwear can be sourced very inexpensively, the small cost-savings in no way justify the potential lack of quality assurance.

A good starting block for assessing suitable PPE, for interpreting what the regulations require, and to gain an understanding of selections and use, along with the hazards and types of PPE is to refer to the government Health and Safety Executive’s Personal protective equipment (PPE) at work guide, downloadable here ( However, safety footwear is where the numerous specifications and classifications can be somewhat confusing and overwhelming. With so many workplace injuries relating to slips, trips and falls, ensuring safety footwear protects the wearer against all probable risks is vital. Luckily, help is at hand. A simple-to-follow, one-page safety footwear Guide from Gorilla Safety Footwear can be downloaded free of charge here (

To discuss individual PPE items, or to arrange for a demonstration of PPE products, visit for more information.