Personal protective equipments

In case substitution may not be possible and technical and organisational measures may not provide sufficient protection. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is then a final step in the STOP strategy to prevent exposure to hazardous substances.

Personal protective equipment such as respiratory protection, work clothing, gloves and goggles, form a barrier between the skin and lungs and the hazardous substance. But in practice, these measures are being seized on too quickly. First, see if measures of a higher level in the STOP strategy are possible and possibly supplement (for specific work) with PPE.

The right PPE

PPE is only effective if the right type is used. A simple cloth face mask does not help anything against a dangerous substance. Gloves that allow liquid substances to pass through even if you work with liquid substances. Therefore, make sure you have a good selection of the PPE. Also make sure that there is sufficient stock, so that employees never miss or reuse PPE that is not intended for that purpose. Make sur whether the use of PPE may not pose new risks.

The following guidelines will help you select the right PPE:
• Do the PPE actually remove the risks? Also take into account the duration of exposure.
• Does the PPE offer sufficient protection?
• Do the PPE fit well with the users? Note that beards can hinder a good fit.

Instructions for proper use and maintenance

Essential for the effectiveness of the PPE is proper use and maintenance. Make sure that employees are instructed on the correct use of the PPE. Make sure it is known how often PPE needs to be replaced (think of parts such as filters). If they can be reused, how are they properly cleaned and stored. Have employees check with each use whether the PPE is still completely intact and always have damaged PPE replaced. Ensure a good preventive maintenance regime that is strictly adhered to, so that PPE is maintained and replaced in a timely manner.