Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, also known as PPE Regulations are there to ensure that basic duties over the provision and use of personal protective equipment apply to all situations where PPE is required.

PPE can be defined as all equipment (including clothing for weather protection) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work to protect them against one or more risks to their health and safety.

This does not apply to clothing worn as a uniform, or work clothing not designed to protect the wearer. Neither does it apply to protective items used for sports competitions.

As of April 2022 there will be a further ammendement to the regulations. The duties will remain the same, but the scope of who the regulations apply to will be widened.

You can read HST’s updated post here. Personal Protective Equipment At Work Regulations UK


Every employer shall ensure that suitable PPE is provided to their employees who may be exposed to risk to their safety and health, except where it has been controlled by other more effective methods.

# Note. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require PPE to be the last resort in the Principles of Protection.

PPE should be:

  • Suitable for the risks and conditions it is provided for (including the length of time-worn)
  •  Take into account the ergonomic requirements and health of the user. 
  •  Is capable of fitting the wearer correctly and comfortably, by adjustment if necessary. (one size definitely does not fit all)
  •  Able to combat the risk without increasing the risk (sfairp)
  •  Has a CE mark ensuring it complies with the required standards.

Further. The risk of injury or illness to employees should be considered under the Hierarchy of Control.

Consider controls in the following order, with elimination being the most effective and PPE being the least effective:

Elimination – physically remove the hazard
Substitution – replace the hazard
Engineering controls – isolate people from the hazard
Administrative controls – change the way people work
PPE – protect the worker with personal protective equipment


Where more than one risk is present, the PPE should be capable of providing protection for all risks to safety and health it has been issued for, without increasing the risk in any other area.

For example, where a hard hat has been issued for head protection and ear defenders issued for noise protection, they must both be able to be worn correctly together without one compromising the other.


Employers must ensure an assessment is carried out to ensure the correct purchase of PPE is made.

The assessment would need to include:

  • The effective protection that the PPE affords the wearer taking into account any risks that the PPE might create itself.
  • An assessment of any risks that haven’t been managed by other methods.
  • Information as to whether the PPE is compatible with other PPE that may need to be worn.
  • A comparison of similar PPE with similar characteristics


Every employer (including self-employed persons) need to ensure the PPE is maintained, cleaned or replaced as required to keep it in an efficient state and efficient working order.

The maintenance should be proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to the PPE.

Specialist PPE such as breathing apparatus and fall arrest equipment should have a regime of planned maintenance which should also be recorded.

Spare parts must be compatible and be the proper part, including CE marking, and manufacturers guidelines for maintenance, repair and use should be followed.

In some cases, these obligations can be fulfilled by using disposable items of PPE which can be discarded after use. Users should know when and how to dispose of disposable PPE.


Where PPE is provided, employers must provide suitable accommodation to keep it separate from other work garments or prevent it from being damaged.

It need not be complicated or costly and might range from a glasses case to store goggles, to a peg to hang overalls, or a cabinet to store more complex forms of PPE.

Where the PPE affords protection from damp or wet conditions then a suitable drying area would be required.


The employer shall provide the employee with information and training about the PPE including:

  • The purpose of the PPE. What risks it affords protection against, and why it is needed.
  • The manner in which the PPE should be used and it’s limitations.
  • Maintenance requirements of the PPE, selection, use and storage.
  • Problems during wearing. Including defects, incompatibility with other items of PPE, hygiene and poor fit.
  • Practice in the correct putting on and taking off.


The employer shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that PPE is properly used.

Every employee shall;

  • Use the PPE provided for their protection in accordance with training and instruction.
  • Store it in the accommodation or protective container provided after use.
  • Report loss or any obvious defect.

And last but not least

We all have a role to play in effective health and safety, and for those actively involved in promoting safe working practices it can be a rewarding, interesting and varied role.

Please visit this site often where you will find a growing number of articles, resources, advice and opinion.

Whether you are a seasoned health and safety professional, or just getting started, we value your opinions and input so please feel free to comment on any of the posts.

Due to the ever-changing nature of regulations and the law, please visit for the very latest information and updates.

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