Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) : The Ultimate Guide for 2018

Keeping your employees safe from injury and compliant with health and safety regulations is paramount in today’s working environment.

In this post you will learn everything you need to know about PPE, and where to buy it.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn.

What is PPE?

PPE stands for Personal Protective/Protection Equipment. This includes all equipment which is intended to protect workers from infection or injury, thus reducing exposure to hazards in the workplace and minimising risk. Such items include helmets, hard-hats, glasses/goggles, ear plugs/defenders and work boots (to name a few).

Personal Protection Equipment does NOT include…

The term PPE often gets used when referring to general workwear. However, this isn’t strictly correct. It’s important to note that personal protection equipment does NOT generally include the following:

  • Ordinary workwear or uniforms which aren’t intended to keep workers safe (e.g. overalls).
  • Equipment used for protection on public roads (e.g. motorcycle or bicycle helmets)
  • Items of clothing used for food hygiene purposes, such as aprons or hair nets.
  • Equipment used during competitive sport competitions (protective equipment used by sports instructors would be included, though- e.g. life jacket worn by canoe instructor)
  • Any weapon used for self defence, such as truncheons or CS gas canisters as used by the police or military (but helmets, body armour and other PPE used to protect staff from physical violence are included).

Why is PPE important in 2018?

PPE is crucial for the workplace, and it will continue to play a vital role in keeping workers safe across all industry sectors for years to come. In this section we outline a couple of reasons why you should care about supplying your employees with PPE.

1. It keeps people safe.

Every worker should feel safe in a hazardous workplace. PPE is intended to protect the user and prevent injury to various parts of the body such as:

  • The lungs: e.g. from breathing in contaminated air.
  • The head and feet: e.g. from falling materials.
  • The eyes: e.g. from particulates or splashes of corrosive liquid.
  • The skin: e.g. from contact with corrosive materials.
  • The whole body: e.g. from temperature extremes.


2. The law says it’s important.

PPE legislation such as the 1992 Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations state that every employer ‘shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his/her employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective’. This same legislation also states that the employer should provide training in PPE usage to his/her employees. So, in short, it is an employers duty by law to make PPE readily available for workers and to show them how to use it, unless the employer can provide alternative means of protection which is more effective.

Due to The Health  and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, employers also cannot charge for PPE, as it is part of their duty of care. In addition to this, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require all employers and peoples registered as self-employed to fill out appropriate risk assessments for the workplace, and offer appropriate solutions to keep workers safe (so PPE is a very good place to start).

As an employer in 2018, this is not somewhere to cut corners. Failure to provide PPE and keep workers safe can result in fines or further legal action.


Which industry sectors require personal protective equipment?

Since there is no such thing as a totally safe workplace, the vast majority of industries will require some form of PPE (although PPE is far more prevalent in certain industry sectors). For instance, construction workers typically require hard hats to protect themselves from falling debris, and ear defenders to muffle loud noises from industrial machinery. However, a Chemical Engineer may need goggles and gloves to protect his/herself from corrosive substances. Alternatively, a climbing wall company will require safety harnesses, fall arresters and back supports to help keep people safe while climbing.

A few examples of PPE:

  • Head protection: Includes hard hats & helmets, bump caps and guards.
  • Hand protection: Includes work gloves and specialist hand protection to protect from chemical, mechanical and thermal hazards.
  • Eye and face protection: Includes safety glasses, eye shields, over specs, face shields, visors and safety goggles.
  • Breathing apparatus: Includes escape sets and working sets.
  • Protective clothing: Includes hi-vis clothing.
  • Foot protection: Includes safety boots, food industry footwear and ESD footwear.
  • Hearing protection: Includes ear defenders & plugs, noise meters and acoustic foam.
  • Respiratory protection: Includes filter respirators, lightweight respirators, powered respirators, detectors & monitors.
  • Fall management equipment: Includes safety harnesses, fall arresters, and various joint and muscle supports.


Please be aware that the above list is far from complete, and should merely be used as a guideline for readers.

Where can I buy PPE?

If you’re asking this question then you really are in the right place. We supply a wide range of PPE at Pro-Parts Workwear to ensure you are ready to tackle the day, no matter the environment. Pro-Parts provide safety boots, glasses, gloves, hard hats, and much more for industry professionals. Please do not hesitate to click HERE and browse our extensive range of PPE and general safety wear. To view a complete list of our suppliers, then please head over to our services page.


Got more questions?

We’re delighted you got this far! However, if reading this article has left you with more burning questions that you need answers to, then please get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to respond to your queries. Click the button below and you’ll be redirected to the contact section of the website.


Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about the 1992 Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, please click HERE.

Alternatively, to read more about the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, please click HERE.

For more information about the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, click HERE.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *