Safety Policy Arrangement 26-2003 (rev.2007) Personal Protective Equipment
The University of Dundee aims to control risks to staff and others affected by its activities by such
means that personal protective equipment is only needed as a last resort in circumstances where risks
cannot be otherwise controlled. Where personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary it must be
effective against the risk, suitable for the wearer, inspected, cleaned, maintained and recorded
according to statutory requirements and best practice.
This policy applies equally to students and visitors partaking in activities under the University’s
control. Contractors working for the University are required to comply with the relevant health and
safety legislation and the University will make such enquiries as it considers necessary to satisfy itself
of their compliance.
Deans/ Directors are responsible for ensuring that the guidance in this document is implemented in
their School/ Directorate and that where PPE has been shown by risk assessment to be necessary that
it is used for the specified activities. Training must be given to ensure that staff understand the need
for and the use of PPE, and when to use it. Staff must co-operate by wearing/using the prescribed PPE
as instructed, and should raise any difficulties with their School/ Directorate Safety Representative/
Co-ordinator or line manager. Local Rules should incorporate information on PPE and internal
disciplinary procedures for non-compliance with this Code of Practice. Safety Representatives/ Co-
ordinators can facilitate the spreading of information, training and instruction on PPE and can assist in
self-monitoring. Safety Committees should discuss any difficulties that arise and should review Local
Rules, referring to Safety Services if matters cannot be resolved locally.
Definition of PPE
PPE includes clothing and equipment intended to be worn or held by a person at work to protect
against one or more health and safety risks to that person. It does not include uniforms or sports
clothing and equipment worn in competitive sports, but it does include protective clothing or
equipment worn by sports instructors in the course of their work, and clothing for anyone working in
adverse weather and extremes of temperature.
Provision of PPE
Where PPE is needed for tasks undertaken by staff, it must be provided free of charge to the
employee. Students and visitors may be required to provide themselves with suitable PPE before
being allowed to take part in certain activities under the University’s control, and will be advised of
suitable types of PPE to obtain. For example, students may be advised to provide their own laboratory
coats, waterproof outer clothing and sturdy footwear for field trips. In rare circumstances where the
PPE required for students or visitors is of a specialised nature needing technical approval by the
University for a particular activity, that will be provided by the University together with training in its
A risk assessment must be available for any activity for which PPE has been specified. That risk
assessment should evidence that there is no other reasonably practicable means of satisfactorily
protecting people from health and safety risks, and should specify any future proposals planned for
controlling the risks and the time scales for their implementation.
Although PPE may appear to be a relatively inexpensive and simple safeguard to counteract a risk, its
use is often far more expensive in time and money than was originally thought. The costs of
implementing the full requirements of the PPE Regulations include significant administrative time
and continuing expenditure. Therefore for routine tasks, or those undertaken by a number of people,
which rely on use of PPE an assessment should be made frequently of whether there are more
effective means of risk control available.
A specific set of Regulations, The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992, govern the
provision, training, inspection, maintenance, storage and replacement of PPE, but the need for PPE
must usually be determined by risk assessment as required under the Management of Health and
Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Other Regulations where PPE has particular reference, and some
prescriptive requirements, are:
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2005
The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989
The Noise at Work Regulations 2005
The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 1987
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
The Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 (shortly to be replaced by
incorporation into the revised Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007
The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999
The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002
While it is easy to specify that PPE must be worn all the time in specified areas or for certain
activities, it must be realised that PPE is uncomfortable and users are likely to discard it if they do not
perceive a risk. An example here is a blanket requirement to wear head protection within the
perimeter of a building site. When the site is still bare except for an office Portacabin there is little
foreseeable risk of falling or swinging items hitting the head, so the requirement is excessive. When
construction work has commenced the requirement is essential.
In some activities or circumstances the need to wear PPE is clear, and a mandatory instruction can be
issued, whereas in other cases there is a discretionary element. The training that needs to be given to
staff must enable them to make competent decisions about when to wear the PPE in situations where
their activities are varied. For example, when handling rubbish sacks, protective gloves may be
needed if bags are overloaded or cannot be picked up by the necks or they are suspected of having
harmful waste in them, but often the risk in lifting partly filled tied bags of domestic rubbish without
gloves is minimal. It would be excessive to require that heavy protective gloves were always worn
for this task but reasonable to provide the gloves to the operator and train him/her to assess whether
they need to use them in particular circumstances.
A further example is the use of hearing protection (HP) in an area where the noise is between the first
and second action levels as defined in the Regulations. In this case the employer has to advise the use
of PPE but cannot insist on it. If employees are trained to understand the risks they can make a valid
choice not to wear the HP for an exposure of 10 minutes but to choose to wear it for an exposure of
Training needs to inform staff of the full range of risks and the mechanism by which harm is caused
against which the PPE is being used.
The details of how to wear or use the PPE must be taught, together with any checks for correct fitting.
The need to regularly inspect and clean PPE must be explained, whether this is done by the user or
someone else, and the correct procedure for reporting, rectifying and recording faults. User
responsibilities, such as recharging batteries for powered RPE, need to be clearly specified in local
Selection of PPE
Where risk assessment has identified the need for PPE the nature of the hazard predominantly
influences the type of PPE to be chosen. Other factors which must be considered are:
1. the environment in which it must be used,
2. the length of time it will be used for,
3. any possible adverse effects on safety, for example, reduced hearing, limited peripheral vision,
4. the characteristics of the individuals who will need to use it
5. arrangements to support the use of PPE, e.g. adequate storage space, training, inspection, records,
replacements, and the time and financial resources needed to do it properly.
Types of PPE
1. Protection against impact and machinery injuries, and harmful substances
a) Head protection
Safety helmets conforming to BS EN 397 should be used whenever there is a risk of falling or
suspended objects striking the head. Suitable safety helmets must be of appropriate size for the
wearer and have and adjustable headband. A chin strap is useful in preventing the helmet coming
off if the wearer falls.
The material which safety helmets are made of does deteriorate with age, therefore they must be
replaced after three years or if they have been subjected to an impact or other damage. Safety
helmets should be stored away from direct sunlight, chemicals and extreme temperatures, and
should not be modified in any way.
Bump caps or scalp protectors conforming to BS EN 812 are sometimes an acceptable alternative
to safety helmets where the risk of injury arises from the worker bumping into low overhead
structures but a helmet would be cumbersome.
b) Safety footwear
Shoes or boots with steel toecaps protect toes against crushing injuries from dropped objects or
from injuries from impact or running over by heavy trolleys etc. Footwear may also incorporate a
steel mid sole plate to protect from penetrating injuries.
BS EN 351-1 and 351-2 “Safety Footwear for Professional Use”, are relevant standards.
In some circumstances footwear with slip resistant soles or waterproofing may be needed.
Often adequate safety can be achieved by ensuring that staff wear appropriate shoes at work; “a
sensible shoe policy”. For example, in a biochemistry laboratory open-toed shoes and sandals are
inappropriate because of the risks of spillage but there is not a strong case for wearing safety
shoes with steel toecaps. Similarly, cleaning staff need to wear flat shoes with closed vamps that
provide stability when they are carrying items.
c) Eye and face protection
Visors, face shields or safety glasses or goggles are used to protect against flying material causing
injury, in the case of glasses or goggles these need to be of a type resistant to impact rather than
Care must be taken in deciding whether protective glasses are sufficient to reduce the risk of
injury. In general laboratory work where the main hazard is splashing liquids, protective glasses
with side wings are advisable all the time but these should be supplemented by the use of a face
shield for more hazardous activities such as preparing stocks of diluted acids from concentrates.
Any activity where there is a foreseeable risk of high energy particles hitting the eye or face are
unlikely to be satisfactorily risk controlled by the use of high impact eye protectors alone.
Detailed guidance is given in BS EN 7028:1999, “Eye Protection for Industrial and Other Uses –
Guidance on Selection, Use and Maintenance”.
Eye protection must conform with BS EN 166 which specifies the qualities of different types of
protection. BS EN 166 Code marks (older BS 2092 markings are also shown below) on the lenses
and the frames indicate the suitable usage of particular glasses and goggles as follows:
BS EN 166 markings BS 2092 marking
Refractive tolerance + 0.06 diopters 1
+ 0.12 “ “ 2
+ 0.12/0/25 “ 3
General purpose S
Low energy impact F F BS 2092
Medium energy impact B B BS 2092:2
High energy impact (goggles only) A A BS 2092:1
Liquids (chemical) C 3
Large dust particles D 4
Gas and Fine dust particles G 5
Short circuit electric arc 8
Molten metals and hot solids M 9 9
Resistance to misting N
Resistance to scratching K
d) Body protection
Leather aprons may be appropriate to control the risk of ejected fragments of materials being
Overtrousers of stout material can protect against penetrative injuries when handling garden
For chainsaw work, gloves and trousers incorporating Kevlar padding are used to minimise injury
in the event of accidental contact of the saw blade with hands or legs.
Laboratory coats provide some protection against spillages and help prevent chemical or
microbiological contamination reaching the wearer. In high risk situations whole body suits may
Boilersuits provide protection against dirt, abrasions and reduce the risk of clothing becoming
snagged on protrusions.
Waterproofs and insulated jackets are examples of clothing for working in adverse environments.
e) Hand protection
Gloves of different types can be used to protect against a range of hazards such as extreme
temperatures, corrosive materials, toxic chemicals, infection risks, sharp or abrasive materials,
solvents and even tools which generate excessive vibration. The risk assessment should specify
what type/s of glove is necessary and the assessor must also consider the needs of the wearer in
the activities which are hazardous. Dexterity, grip, fit and comfort are important, as well as
thinking whether the use of gloves adds any other risk factor, for example, a heavy glove may
impede accuracy of selecting control buttons on a machine. Using the wrong size of glove
diminishes performance and may cause danger, therefore an adequate supply of different sizes of
gloves must be available or users individually issued with suitably fitting ones. Most gloves
reduce the risk of injury and reduce the damage if injury does occur, but they cannot be relied
upon totally so users need to understand their limitations and the need to check reusable gloves
for damage before use.
Where the hazard indicates that disposable gloves are suitable, the University’s policy on Latex
Allergy must also be taken into account. (see http://www.dundee.ac.uk/safety/Policy/16-
2002.pdf). Powdered latex gloves are unacceptable, but in circumstances where users have been
informed of the need to report any symptoms if these occur, no-one in the department suffers
from a latex allergy, and the use is not continuous, latex gloves may be appropriate. Disposable
vinyl or nitrile gloves are preferable. Users should be trained to discard disposable gloves by
inverting them as they take them off so that contaminated surfaces are enclosed when discarded to
the waste stream appropriate for the activity.
Certain chemicals permeate some types of glove materials and make them either ineffective or
quickly outworn. Some gloves can only be used with certain chemicals for a short time before the
material permeates through to the hand, so users need to be made aware of the limitations of such
gloves. Guidance on suitability is usually available from reputable suppliers of safety equipment,
but in general, solvents, chlorinated hydrocarbons and PCBs require the use of Viton gloves,
handling strong acids needs butyl gloves, strong alkalis need neoprene, and nitrile gloves provide
the best protection against oils and can be used for aliphatic solvents as well.
Leather gloves usually offer good protection against glass and other sharp materials while
chainmail gloves are used at bandsaw work and by butchers deboning meat.
2. Respiratory protective equipment
This category of PPE presents a number of technical, operational and maintenance challenges
which need to be thoroughly researched before relying on human protection by this means. Safety
Services should be contacted in any circumstances where it is considered necessary to use RPE
for a routine activity and they can carry out the necessary face fit testing if any non-powered RPE
is to be used.
Most RPE does not provide complete protection from the hazard, and a notional figure, the
Assigned Protection Factor, is specified for each type of RPE to indicate how effective it is. The
Assigned Protection Factor means the factor by which the hazard is reduced, therefore a basic
type FFP1 particle filter mask with Assigned Protection Factor 4 only reduces the hazard to a
quarter of what it was – provided that it fits properly and is worn correctly!
Any RPE that relies on the user drawing air through filters (rather than excess clean air being
provided to the user) requires to be face fit tested for each user. Leakage around the face seal of
RPE must be below a certain level to ensure that the use of that RPE is as effective as it can be
within its specification.
All RPE needs thorough instruction, training and supervision of the staff using it, and records
need to be kept of its issue, inspection, cleaning, repair and maintenance, as well as a record of
There are five commonly used types of RPE:
• Disposable filter masks, with or without exhalation valves (often colloquially referred to as
• Filter respirators relying on the user inhaling air through an appropriate replaceable filter,
these may be full face or half face.
• Power assisted respirators of full face or half mask type providing filtered air
• Air lines or air fed excess flow hoods supplied by air at low pressure.
• Breathing apparatus fed by compressed air cylinders or other air/gas mixtures.
The hazards for which RPE may be used include:
• Particles – dust, fine particulates, fibres, fume
• Vapours and gases – toxic materials that are in molecular form or very small droplets which
dissociate into free molecules.
• Reduced oxygen atmospheres
• Biological agents
A range of British Standards cover various types of RPE as shown in the table below, and BS EN
4275:1997, Guide to Implementing an Effective Respiratory Protection Programme, gives details.
All RPE used in the University must be CE marked and approved to a relevant BS. The code
markings of filters and disposable masks can be confusing, and if there is any doubt as to the
appropriate RPE to use, Safety Services should be contacted.
The numbers 1,2,3 refer to the class or efficacy of the filter or mask, “P” indicates that the device
protects against dusts, and there are code letters shown in the table according to the type of gas or
vapour which he filter is designed to withstand. Therefore a filter designated EN 141 A2P3 has a
medium capacity to prevent passage of organic vapours and a high efficiency particle filter.
A common difficulty is estimating the effective life of a filter before it needs to be replaced.
(Replacing the filter when you can smell the material coming through is NOT the right answer!).
Manufacturers’ literature enclosed with filters or disposable masks gives some guidance on filter
life according to the external concentration of material, but frequently users do not know the
concentrations to which they are likely to be exposed. As a general rule users must err on the side
of caution and schedule filter or mask changes at a frequency based on the assumption that they
are being exposed to higher concentrations than they think. Thus safe working in a contaminated
atmosphere for 6 hours may require several changes of mask or filter. Where the contaminant is
an allergen and may be present only in very small quantities, it is even more difficult to estimate
the life span of the filter or mask. In the case of a replaceable filter in a respirator one week would
be a maximum life, and a disposable mask should be discarded after one day.
British Type of RPE Hazards the RPE is designed to Class or Assigned
standard protect against and codes Filter Protection
BS EN 149 Disposable particle Only dust particles NOT for FFP1 4
filter covering nose gases or vapours FFP2 10
and mouth FFP3 20
BS EN 405 Disposable filter Certain types and concentrations FFGasXP 4
with exhalation of gases and vapours as described 1 10
valve containing on product information, and dust. FFGasXP 10
gas filtering 2
material as well as FFGasXP
particle filters 3
BS EN 140 Reusable half mask According to filter type/s, P or P1 4
covering nose A – organic vapours BP > 65deg P2 10
mouth and chin C P3 20
fitted with B – inorganic gases, not CO
(BS EN 143) replaceable filters E – sulphur dioxide and acidic Gas +P3 10
(BS EN 141) (Particle filters, P) gases
(Gas filters) K – ammonia and organic NH4
NO-P3 – oxides of nitrogen
Hg-P3 – mercury
BS EN 136 Full face mask with According to filter type/s as P2 10
vision panel using described above P3 40
Gas +P3 20
BS EN Positive pressure According to type of filters TH1 10
12941 full face hood or installed in supply line TH2 20
helmet TH3 40
BS EN Power assisted full As above, user can draw air TM1 10
12942 face mask respirator through filters if power supply TM2 20
fails. TM3 40
BS EN 145 Self contained All contaminants and low oxygen c. 1000
3. Hearing protection
Noise is a form of energy that can damage the structure of the inner ear leading to deafness. The
product of the length of exposure and the noise level gives the amount of physical energy
absorbed by the ear and when this is too high it is likely that cumulative damage will occur.
Although there are other factors which influence the onset of deafness, including genetics and
ageing, when noise levels are greater than 85dB(A) there is a significant risk of noise induced
hearing loss over a period of time.
Noise is measured in decibels and this is a numeric scale derived from a logarithmic increase in
sound pressure level. An increase of 3 decibels in noise level corresponds to doubling the sound
pressure level on the ear and consequently doubling the physical damage. An increase of 12
decibels therefore means the sound pressure level is 16 times as great.
Current UK law, The Noise at Work Regulations 2005, requires hearing protection to be worn
when ambient noise is 85 dB(A) (second Action level) or greater, and strongly advises it at 80
dB(A) (first Action level
A further requirement of these Regulations is that employees be trained and instructed about the
potential damage noise can do to their hearing and how to protect it. This includes conveying a
good understanding of the amount of damage that is caused by removing HP even for a short time
while exposed to high noise levels.
Employers are tasked with carrying out noise assessment surveys and marking hearing protection
areas where noise levels are above 85 dB(A) with signs indicating that hearing protection is
mandatory. There are few locations within the University where this is necessary, although there
are areas that fall into this category if certain equipment is in operation.
Where hearing protectors are needed they must be selected according to the level of protection
they offer over the relevant frequency spectrum. For example, low frequency noise is less
effectively diminished by most types of HP than high frequency noise, so the manufacturer’s
specification must be matched against the type of noise. In nearly all cases around the University
noise levels can be satisfactorily reduced by the use of disposable ear plugs, but users may prefer
to wear ear muffs instead. In a few cases ear muffs are recommended due to their greater noise
Ear muffs are a re-useable form of HP and can be purchased in high specifications that protect
against some very loud noise levels. However, they require to be properly fitted, kept clean,
inspected maintained and repaired or replaced when necessary, and all these activities to be
recorded. Ear plugs do not offer such high protection levels but are disposable, therefore only
records of training, suitability, issue or availability, and supervision of use are needed. In all
cases users should be offered a choice of types of HP and receive adequate training in their proper
fitting, use and care, and this training must be recorded.
The University does not have a central purchasing arrangement for all PPE, therefore departments
should approach reputable suppliers of safety equipment. Several suggested suppliers are listed
below, but may not cover very specialised applications.
Checklist for the Selection of PPE
•Type of PPE
•Has the user been consulted in the selection of the PPE? Yes No
•Does the PPE protect the user from the risk? Yes No
If no, find an alternative
•Does the PPE affect the performance of the user? Restricted movement
Reduced peripheral vision
Reduced communicative ability
If this causes and increase in the risk, find an alternative
•Is the PPE adjustable/sized so that it fits properly? Yes No
If no, find an alternative.
•Does the wearer have any health issues? asthma Yes No
allergies Yes No
If yes to allergies, to what?
If allergy/asthma will be exacerbated, find an alternative
•Is the PPE being worn for long periods of time? Yes No
•Is the environment in which the PPE is being used likely
to cause discomfort to the wearer? Yes No
If yes, what measures are being taken to make the user more comfortable?
•Is more than on piece of PPE required to be worn at once? Yes No
If yes, are they compatible? Yes No
If no, find items that are compatible
Remember, badly fitting PPE does not offer complete protection
University of Dundee PPE Inspection Record
Department Location (Room no.)
Date of Inspection
Equipment ID No. Condition of Equipment Sat Unsat Replacement Signature
University of Dundee PPE Individual Training and Issue Record
Equipment Date issued Task Date Training Signature Signature
University of Dundee PPE Maintenance Record
Location (Room no.) Identification Number
Name of User Activity used for
Date Condition of Equipment Repair work carried out Signature