Guide

Personal protective equipment

Does your business need personal protective equipment?

Every business by law must maintain a safe working environment. The key to complying with this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment. This involves spotting workplace hazards and taking steps to reduce the risk of harm they may cause.

Certain businesses will need to  use personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise workplace risks. Workers must use PPE and clothing if their health and safety can't otherwise be properly protected.

Employers must provide any necessary PPE to employees free of charge. If you are self-employed, you must obtain PPE for yourself.  

Do I need PPE?

PPE should be seen as a last resort. Decide whether processes can be carried out differently to minimise risk instead.

Carry out a health and safety risk assessment to see what PPE your business needs. 

Before purchasing equipment consider carefully what you need and whether separate items are compatible. For example, do protective goggles make it difficult for a respirator to fit properly?

You must also ensure that all PPE meets set standards - see buy the right personal protective equipment.

Businesses in certain sectors are obliged to provide protective equipment under regulations that override PPE legislation. See personal protective equipment exemptions.