Situations Where PPE Must Be Worn

PPE should be worn when there is a safety risk present, however many are unsure which situation warrants wearing PPE.

From building sites to warehouses, this article will cover the most common environments where PPE must be worn.

But first, let us take a ­look at why PPE is so important.

The reason why PPE exists

PPE or Personal Protective Equipment is designed to reduce the chance of injury by a number of protective properties. Products such as respirators, gloves, specialised work trousers and hi visibility work trousers are all included under the PPE category.

Protective equipment has been around for thousands of years, however it was not made part of law in the UK until the 1800s, when the Employers’ Liability Act 1880 was introduced. This told employers to provide their employees protective equipment.  Since that date there has been numerous advancements in PPE and legislation. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was a breakthrough for health and safety as well as Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, which was revised in the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002.

At this point every employer had to provide PPE to its employees without charge or levy, to read a full history of health and safety visit the website:

Environments where PPE must be worn

A risk assessment must be carried out to fully understand which PPE you must wear, as this will inform you of the many hazards that you face within your workplace.

Below are example environments when PPE must be worn and also and the typical equipment that would need to be provided.

PPE at a Construction Site

Let’s look at the type of hazards there are in this work environment such as falling objects, moving vehicles, potential lacerations or grazes and noise and vibration hazards from tools. Below is a list of items that would help to protect you against these hazards:

  • Work Trousers
  • T-shirts / Polo shirts
  • Steel toe boots
  • Hard hat
  • Ear defenders
  • Anti-Vibration Gloves
  • Hi-Vis Vest
  • Hi-Vis jacket

PPE in a warehouse

Hazards within a warehouse can be varied from falling objects to slipping on paperwork. The warehouse can be a dangerous place. There are hundreds of safety guides for working in a warehouse, which cover hazards such as, forklift trucks, falling objects and slip risks. Having a pair of slip resistant safety boots, a hard hat, a bump cap or a high visibility vest is a small list of items that help reduce the risk of injury. Other items suited for warehouses are:

  • Work Trousers
  • Hi-Vis Vest
  • T-shirts / Polo shirts
  • Steel toe boots
  • Safety headwear
  • Cut resistant gloves

PPE when working outdoors or near a road

There is numerous hazards when working outdoors or near a road, usually the idea of being around moving vehicles means you will need to be protected as much as possible, especially motorways. The most common item you would need to wear is a high visibility vest. This will maximise your visibility and ensure drivers can see you. Other items may consist of:

  • Hi Vis Work Trousers
  • Waterproof Hi Vis Jackets
  • Hi Vis T-shirts / Polo shirts
  • Steel toe boots

Still Unsure?

If you are unsure on what items of PPE you need, you should ask an expert or consult with your health and safety manager on site. This will ensure you wear the most appropriate type of PPE for your environment.


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